Drama has been in existence around the world since the ancient times. It originated from the playful instincts that humans possessed and used gestures as a way of communicating. Now, contemporary drama takes on a variety of forms. From major theatrical plays to street performances, actors are always situated in their roles. A lot of plays are put on by actors all around the world, and those plays reflect the life stories of them.
39th workshop, Please Turn off the Light
Festival of Yuguijeon Experience
The members of Theater Art Research Club are making the stage
Theater Art Research Club was founded in 1968 and brags it history as the oldest Central Club at the University of Seoul (henceforth, UOS). For 48 years, students with passion for drama have performed plays of many genres. They not only build their own stage, but also create dramas and interacted with drama clubs at other universities. The University Theatre Festival is held every year in Geo-chang, and this year, Theater Art Research Club is preparing to participate in this contest. The members of this club take part in the annual festival of September, called “Festival of Yuguijeon Experience” by reenacting traditional plays in front of Gyeongbok Palace sponsored by Jongno-gu Office. Theater Art Research Club also teaches high school students in drama clubs or perform at community welfare centers.
Plays staged by Theater Art Research Club can be divided into three types: formal plays, workshops, and one-act play festivals. Formal plays and workshops are usually prepared during summer or winter vacations. They are celebrating their 86th formal play and 39th workshop. The one-act play festival of is usually held during the semester. This new event is now in its third year.
Theater Art Research Club also publishes the magazine called the Pioneer. One of the main purposes of this publication is to draw attention from the seniors of the club to subsequently strengthen the senior-junior relationship. The 2015 master plan, including a schedule of events and future plans for the following year, will be published in the 7th edition of the Pioneer.
86th formal play poster, the Lower Depths
The korean traditional custom, gosa
The Process of Staging a Play
After the director is selected, he or she chooses a play. Anyone who has passion or interest in drama can apply to become a director, an actor, a planner or a crew member. Next, applicants for the acting roles have an audition. These actors who pass the audition now officially rehearse the play ardently. Crew members also have to pass an interview. They are asked about the roles for which they applied. The crew is assigned various roles including set design, lighting, sound effects, prop design, and costumes following the producer’s directions.
The members of Theater Art Research Club work together for a month or two to bring their play to the stage. Prior to the event, they hold a special ritual called gosa to wish for a successful staging of the play. After gosa, they promote fellowship by sharing food with each other. Of course, gosa no longer holds magical or superstitious values to the members. Nonetheless, they make this special ritual as their custom to wish good luck with the plays and to socialize with each other by making food together and sharing it. While making final preparations, actors rehears their parts enthusiastically on-stage, and staff members also devote themselves to their roles off-stage.
Every Person is Equal in a Play
The president of Theater Art Research Club, Kim Hyeong-jin (Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ’11) said drama can make people think more about freedom and romance. Seeing a play can give us a good chance to reflect upon our own lives. Kim Hong-geun, an actor of the Lower Depth, said, “It is hard to be candid because we have to fit into the society, but I can be free on stage. I think the stage is a free space. It is the space where I can be honest to myself.” Another actress, Lee Hye-kyeong (Dept. of Business Administration, ’13), said, “What is meaningful about setting a play is that I get a chance to interact with other people. You learn to appreciate others by becoming them on the stage.”
People live their own lives off stage. Once they are on stage, however, they can take any role to become anyone regardless of who they used to be. As actors, they can be free from themselves. No matter who they are, they are just another actor on stage, on equal grounds.
The first impression of Theater Art Research Club was enjoyable and lively. They looked ingenious, too when I saw them doing the ritual gosa prior to staging. Most importantly, they spent all their energy and attention to their plays. They have a sincere and active attitude about play, for they enjoy taking part in it. When spring comes, how about going to the play at Birch Hall or a little theater in Daehak-ro? If you do, you could feel their passion.It will surely remind you of Shakespeare’s famous saying about life, “All the world’s stage, and all the men and women merely players.”
President of Theater Art Research Club, Kim Hyeong-jin (Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ’11)
The Lower Depths
From Mar. 18 through 21 this year, the club is staging a Russian play by Gor’kii Maksim, the Lower Depths as its 86th formal play. The director of the play, Cho Young-geun (Dept. of Philosophy, ’07), is currently a professional actor at Daehak-ro. The producer, Jang Jin-ung (Dept. of Business Administration, ’08), has also produced plays at Daehak-ro, which shows that the play by this club is not just an amateur one. The play will be performed in Birch Hall of UOS, free of charge to freshmen, and 5,000 won per the rest.
In the play, a thief, a failed actor, an old unemployed locksmith with his wife who suffers from an illness, and a loading dock laborer are all struggling to make a living from poverty in a fowl-smelling and cheap tattered inn. Sudden appearance of an old pilgrim, Luka who falsely consoled them change the whole plot of the play. Although once possessing a false hope, the play ends with their surrender to the harsh reality.
Theater Art Research Club's 86th formal play The Lower Depths
▶ When : Mar. 18~20 (Wed ~ Fri) 8 p.m. / 21 (Sat) 3 p.m., 7p.m.
▶ Where : Birch Hall of UOS
▶ Ticket Price : freshmen : free / others : 5,000 won