It has been a few days now since word hit that G.O was cast in the musical, Seopyeonje. I am still trying to collect myself and stay calm because the moment I read it, I knew I would be going back to Seoul. The thought of seeing G.O performing in music theater just sent my fangirl meter into overdrive. I love the man’s voice. I love the man’s presence. I love music theater. This is a no brainer for me. ^.^
I am so excited for G.O to take on the role of Dong Ho and return to music theater. Seopyeonje is based on Yi Chung Jun’s 1976 haunting and disturbing novel set in the 1950s after the Korean War in the remote south of the country, home of the traditional art of pansori singing, a moving and expressively beautiful style of folk song performed by traveling musicians. The linked stories center on a family of itinerant singers: a boy (Dong Ho) and his stepfather and half-sister. Believing that his stepfather caused his mother’s death, the boy cannot live with the murderous hatred he feels towards him, so he disappears, leaving father and daughter to travel and perform alone. Believing her art can become elevated to the highest standard only by sensory deprivation, the father is said to have blinded the child. Thereafter, she becomes a legendary performer throughout the land. Years later the half-brother arrives in a village and finds his sister in a tavern. He asks her to sing for him, and with his drum accompaniment the two perform pansori songs throughout the night—though never explicitly acknowledging their relationship. So begins an unforgettable chain of events in one of the strangest and most haunting of novels exploring themes such as forgiveness, the redemptive power of art, and modern man’s loss of innocence and alienation from traditional values—the values at the heart of Seopyeonje. [Source: Peter Owen Publishing]
In 1993, the novel was turned into a film where it received critical acclaim and broke box office records in South Korea. It was also screened at Cannes. It hit the Seoul musical stage for the first time in 2010 and won best original musical at the 5th Musical Awards in June 2011. It returned to the Seoul musical stage again in 2013.
I think G.O and Dong Ho will be a perfect fit. The art of pansori singing originated from the southern part of South Korea and is a form of musical story-telling featuring a vocalist and a drummer. G.O originates from the southern part of the country and is a vocalist. Yes, this is going to be wonderful to watch AND listen to. Plus, from reading up on the storyline, it seems Dong Ho is going to be a bad boy of sorts or, at best, clash with patriarchal authority. I look forward to seeing him in a angst-filled role!
He will share the role with actors Michael Lee and Song Yong Jin and will perform March 22-23 and April 1, 2 (both shows), 5, 6, 8 and 9. Tickets will go on sale January 21st and can be purchased online at Interpark Ticket.
Am I going to go? You bet – so long as I can get tickets to the shows, Seoul and I will meet again. ♥
Here is a taste of some traditional pansori: