This year is the 100th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement. A hundred years ago, 33 representatives read the Proclamation of Korean Independence in order to gain the independence of Korea by resisting Japan. Also, many independence fighters fought for the independence of Korea. There is a musical The UOS Times would like to introduce. It is about one independence fighter Ahn Jung-geun, which was made to commemorate his death. The title of musical is Hero and it is about his life. Ahn Jung-geun was a patriotic martyr who killed Ito Hirobumi, the head of Japan in the Japanese colonial period, for the independence. As stated above, this year is not only the 100th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, but also the 10th anniversary of the musical Hero. For these reasons, The UOS Times watched the musical Hero and introduces it to our readers.
Records of the Musical Hero
The musical Hero began to perform in 2009 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Ahn Jung-geun’s death. The musical Hero was performed for the first time in the presence of Ahn Jung-geun’s descendants. Since its premiere, the musical Hero won major awards at various musical awards. For example, the musical Hero won The Best Creative Musical Award at the 4th Musical Awards in 2010. Also, the musical actor Jung Sung-hwa, who acted as Ahn Jung-geun, won The Best Actor Award through this musical. Including these awards, the musical Hero received total 18 awards since its premiere and was honored as a single creative musical that won the most awards. Additionally, the musical Hero was ranked the first in ticket sales in the creative musical category. To sum up, the musical Hero can be called as a successful musical not only in its quality, but also in its box office hit.
Features of the Musical Hero
The musical Hero comprises of stories of how Ahn Jung-geun sniped at Ito Hirobumi and the subsequent execution of his death penalty. The musical makes its story richer by showing virtual characters, leading to a more dramatic musical. Through the virtual characters, audiences can see new stories between Ahn Jung-geun and the virtual characters. Therefore, even Koreans who know his life story only briefly can also enjoy the musical Hero.
The element that cannot be missed in a musical is the “numbers” which mean musical songs. In a musical, the numbers sometimes replace the dialogues. Then, they are accompanied by live music from the orchestra, giving a grand impression throughout the stage. The live music of the orchestra makes the audiences feel what the characters are feeling at that moment such as fear, solemnity, and sorrow. Through the features of the musical in which the numbers replace the dialogues, audiences can effectively empathize with the feelings of characters together with the dialogues that are delivered by the actors. Here are the numbers of the musical Hero that The UOS Times was impressed with.
Numbers of the Musical Hero
The number I Remember You is a song by Seol-hui, the last maid of honor of Empress Myeongseong. When she was nine years old, she saw the Eulmi Incident, where Empress Myeongseong was murdered by the Japanese assassins. Having survived alone in this incident, she sings with determination to revenge on Japan with a longing for the Empress. One of the lyrics, “I cannot forget you in my dreams and I can still remember that day when I close my eyes,” shows that she still missed Empress Myeongseong even when she became an adult. This scene where Seol-hui continues her songs with crying brings sorrow and anger at the same time.
Another number is Who Is Guilty by Ahn Jung-geun. This number is already famous and some parodies came out. Ahn Jung-geun, who shot Ito Hirobumi, sings at the trial in a Japanese court. In the song, he says, “I want to reveal why I killed Ito Hirobumi,” and points out 15 reasons why he had to kill Ito. However, Ahn Jung-geun got sentenced to death while the Japanese who assassinated Empress Myeongseong were sentenced innocent. He announces the unfairness of the Japanese law and the song is concluded by saying, “Please let the world know their hypocrisy and our truth.” After the song was over, the cheers of the audience were tremendous. It is obvious that all the audience felt pleasure with this song.
Scenes of the Musical Hero
The musical Hero is also remarkable in directing, especially in the chase scenes. In the scene where the Japanese army chase the Independents, the background and the stage move with the people, to make it look like they are actually running around the city. It adds synchronized dance moves and gives the audience a pleasure to watch. In another chase scene, No Emergency Exit, the Independence army and the Japanese army cross each other closely. This exquisiteness gives the audience tension. The red light of the Japanese and the blue light of the Independents intersect and express dynamism, which cannot be forgotten in the musical Hero.
When the musical was over, it was hard to bear the tears after seeing the efforts and sacrifices of the independence fighters. As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the March First Independence Movement, The UOS Times hope that readers remember to honor the independents’ sacrifices and appreciate them by watching such a magnificent work, the musical Hero. Seeing the life of the Independents through the musical, it would make you think more about our history, how tough it was for our nation to gain independence, and the bravery of the Independents.