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  Arts & Living
"Romeo and Juliet" Praised in Seoul
Shakespeare's Tragedy Enthralls Multitude in S. Korea
"Romeo and Juliet" staged at Shinchon Presbyterian Church in Seoul on May 19, 2018

"Romeo and Juliet," one of William Shakespeare's two most popular plays along with Hamlet, was staged on May 19, 2018 at Shinchon Presbyterian Church in Seoul due to the efforts of Madam Prof. Kim Han, who spent lifetime studying and teaching the world's most famous playwright.

The 90-minute work of Shakespeare’s most famous story of love was directed and produced by music Prof. Lee Kyu-Seong under the guidance of Madam Prof. Kim Han, who taught English literature at Dongguk University in Seoul over three decades.

Baritone himself Prof. Lee teaches music at the Conservatory of Dongguk University in Seoul. Lee is the noted artistic director of operas. He is the winner of the covetous Maria Callas Grand Prix.

Prof. Lee Kyu-Seong of the Conservatory of Dongguk University. He is the noted artistic director of operas. He is the winner of the covetous Maria Callas Grand Prix.

A number of audience occupied seats in palatial main hall of the church. More than 350 people filled the hall, according to Rev. Cho Dong-Cheon, senior pastor of the church.

The tragic romance staged in English language drew a very high acclamations from the large crowd gathered at the Protestant church.

The entire staff and cast were all Koreans. Tenor Jeong Jae-Hwan and Soprano Kwak Hyun-Joo (Rachel) starred as Romeo and Juliet respectively.

Two other dancers appeared as Romeo and Juliet. They are Jeong Jae-Pil (Romeo) and Park Sung-Eun (Juliet). Piano was played by Lee Youn-Mi while Lee Kun-Hee served as a composer.

What made the drama more attractive and special was the lecture thrown by Madam Prof. Kim during the play.

Under the title of "Humanities Concer" she gave a lecture, answering the six questions raised regarding the drama including film scenes, songs, dance as well as the contents of the drama story.

Prof. Lee explaioned that the questions and answers in Madam Prof. Kim's lecture emphasized on the value of true love rather than the fame of his or her name in the world.

"One takes his or her own life for the fame without realizing the name in the world will prove nothing," Prof. Lee said. "In particular the balcony scene was important and it includes Juliet's speech carrying the essence of the true love through 'the mysterious economics of Juliet'"

"The more I give to you, the more I have," Juliet's famous "Balcony Scene remark" in the drama touched up the heart and mind of the audience at the church," Prof. Lee explained.

Madam Prof. Kim Han, professor emeritus of Dongguk University in Seoul

He said that "Harmony" is the theme of this play's dance. The two dancers created the whole choreography from start to finish for this drama.

"I wanted this drama to be understood comfortably by the audience, most of them are churchgoers," He went on. "I planned this play in a way it does not deviate from its original work"

"We wanted to express pure and candid passion through Romeo and Juliet who were merely teenagers," the singers commented.

What made the drama more attractive and special was the lecture thrown by Madam Prof. Kim during the play.

Under the title of "Humanities Concer" she gave a lecture, answering the six questions raised regarding the drama including film scenes, songs, dance as well as the contents of the drama story.

One of the spectators, Prof. Lee Yong-Kwan of the University of Suwon, said that he was impressed by the "fantastic" drama. He is the current president of Shakespeare Association of Korea.

"Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet was presented in a diverse and unique way. Some major scenes were selected and performed in acting, dancing, vocal music, opera, film, and so on," he mentioned. "In particular, Kim Han, emeritus professor of Dongkuk University, gave a critical commentary on each scene. It was an amazing ensemble"

Viewers captivated by "Romeo and Juliet" staged at Shinchon Presbyterian Church in Seoul on May 19, 2018

He said that director's marvelous creativity was impressive as well and minister's sermons was also impressive.

"I was astonished by Shinchon Church's idea to preach the gospel to unbelievers in an indirect cultural approach," he said.

Another viewer, Rev. Yang Gui-Won, was another admirer of the play. He serves as pastor of Seongbuk Evangelical Church.

"It's too bad it ends in one performance. It is a program that should be introduced to public broadcasting," the pastor said.

One of the viewers, Ms. Kim Mi-Haeng, left a long comment of the play.

"As soon as the performance started, it came as a big surprise to me," she said. "And I was thrilled with such a joy that I lost my words, holding my breath with my eyes fixed on the stage"

"What a surprising and delightful blending!," she went on. "Those  six lectures by Prof. Kim, short but interesting were accompanied by the movements and pictures of the selected scenes in the film"

Madam Prof. Kim Han —
Madam Prof. Kim Han (center in front row), professor emeritus of Dongguk University in Seoul, poses with VIP viewers prior to the start of "Romeo and Juliet" staged at Shinchon Presbyterian Church in Seoul on May 19, 2018. Madam Prof. Kim, an authority on William Shakespeare, spnet her lifetime studying and teaching
Shakespeare.

She also praised the singing of two lovers "as wonderful and vivid enough to make the audience see singing Romeo and Juliet come alive in front of them."

"And dancing of two lovers were so fantastic," she said. "Two singing lovers on th stage, powerful enough to carry the young energy of those passionate teenage lovers as well as peaceful enough to deliver the final message of the play"

"Only 'love' brings the ultimate peace on this 'stage of the fools,'" she said. "And what a harmonious orchestration!"

Ms. Kim Mi-Hyun (Tane) left the following comment.

"Before the performance started, I thought I was going to have a lecture with Prof. Kim Han," she said. "Even though having a glimpse of the program, I had no idea how singing and dancing were supposed to be presented in a lecture"

"Over an hour and a half, I came to realize how movie, lecture, opera, and ballet could be blended well in a lecture, making it incomparable, scintillating, joyful, 90-minute entertainment," she commented. "It was a good example of the lecture of fusion and integration, which you will never know until you see one in front of your very eyes"

She said that as one of the members of the Generation X, she preferred the film "Romeo and Juliet" (1996) starring Leonardo Dicaprio to the more classic one with Olivia Hassett.

"Now I become a huge fan of the older ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (1968) as well as the brand-new style of the lecture, let alone Prof. Kim's," she said.



Related Articles
    Prof. Kim Han’s Life Devoted to Shakespeare


 

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