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[HERALD INTERVEW] `It is heart that embraces character`

Solomon in the upcoming musical "Dancing Shadow" is a character that grabs attention from every woman in town, making them desire him not only physically but also mentally. To play this solitary, but charming fugitive, an actor definitely has to be good-looking as well as capable of depicting the complex, struggling character.
Shin Sung-rok, 25, was picked out for the role from an audition that tested some 400 candidates before him. The sense of charisma that often accompanied a series of shy smiles at the first sight clearly explained why he was the one for the character. Perhaps not knowing that he does have such an unidentified, but very powerful appeal, the actor said he is still struggling playing Solomon.
<**1>"Solomon disturbs me, urges me to identify him, his fragile ego on the stage. And it is not easy because I have to understand him in a short period of time," said Shin after finishing a 10-hour-long rehearsal of musical "Dancing Shadow" earlier this week.

But soon he comes with his own approach on the character, saying it is his heart, not his head, that makes him understand Solomon.
"Solomon is a very indecisive wanderer. Maybe he is a representation of dependent and fragile human beings. But I think it is your heart that fully embraces the character, not the head," said Shin who has made himself known to the public with the hit drama "Thank You" (2007, MBC).
The young actor is taking the role of Solomon in "Dancing Shadow," a musical adaptation of acclaimed Korean realist play "Forest Fire." Written by the country`s celebrated playwright, Cha Bum-seok, the play explores human desire as coming before ideology, social norms and tradition through the story of an injured communist guerilla who has sexual relationships with two widows in a village located in the Sobaek Mountains.
Now the musical version of the drama, renamed as "Dancing Shadows," is to be staged at the Opera House of the Seoul Arts Center, southern Seoul, on July 8. It runs through Aug. 30.
The musical brings all the characters from the original piece, but some parts of the plot are changed. In the musical, Sa-wol (whose name changed to Cinda), pregnant with the child of the communist guerrilla Kyu-bok (Solomon), decides to save the child, who brings hope and peace to the village.
The musical is a joint production with foreign organizations and renowned writer Ariel Dorfmann writing the script for the musical. The music was composed by Eric Woolfson, leader of 1970s rock band Alan Parsons Project.
Along with Shin, the cast of "Dancing Shadows" includes a number of experienced musical actors. Kim Bo-kyung, who played the protagonist of the Korean language musical "Miss Saigon," takes the role of Nashtala (Jum-rye from the original piece), and Bae Hae-sun, one of Korea`s musical divas, takes the main character Cinda.
Despite his relatively young age and lack of experience, Shin is winning attention from critics and media with his fast-growing talents.
Debuted in 2004 with a Korean musical "Mosquito," Shin has been active on stage taking lead roles in a number of musicals. He has recently made success on TV screen with his role Choi Suk-hyun in the MBC drama "Thank You," in which he abandons his pregnant girlfriend in the face of strong family opposition.
"I feel weird but at the same time, I feel more responsible for what I do, since a lot of people began to recognize me. I think I should learn not to disappoint my fans," said Shin.
Asked on his motivation of becoming an actor, Shin said, "There is no specific reason why I became an actor. It all started from having a vague idea ... that I just wanted to act."
Shin, who was an amateur basketball player before becoming an actor, is also a brother to Shin Je-rok, a professional basketball player with the KT&G Anyang team.
Shin is branching out his acting career to the film screen. He is taking a supportive role in the movie "In Love for Six Years," which stars Kim Ha-neul and Yoon Kye-sang. But he noted that his heart and life is and always will belong to the stage.
"I feel more affection toward stage (than TV). I think it is the stage where actors learn life and understand the meaning of acting. It is where I learned how to act and where I gained confidence. I think the core of my life will remain on the stage," said Shin with his signature smile.

By Cho Chung-un