The 31st Seoul Theater Festival kicked off its month-long engagement yesterday at the Arko Arts Theater that organizers have said will focus on presenting more original productions.
Just as the Namsan Art Center last month unveiled its 2010 line-up stacked with in-house productions, organizers of the STF have invited seven original plays out of the eight that are up for the main competition this year.
“This year we placed emphasis on revitalizing a culture of developing original plays as a pure form of the dramatic arts in addition to promoting the event as a forum for dialogue among all those that are involved,” said Choi Jong-won, veteran screen and television actor, and executive chairman of the festival, at a press conference last week. “Through our efforts, we want to give this society hope through our innovative plays.”
Among the selections outside of competition are a slew of official premieres from many of Korea’s acclaimed playwrights.
One of the most anticipated titles will undoubtedly be Kim Gwang-rim’s latest drama, “Murder Case of President Lee.”
Kim’s name might be familiar with many for his well-known production about the serial murders in 1980s Hwaseong County which was turned into a blockbuster in 2003.
Interest in Kim’s stage dramas subsequently spiked after the phenomenal box office success of Bong Joon-ho’s “Memories of Murder,” which was the film adaptation of his 1996 play “Come See Me.“
Kim’s latest play is centered around the mystery surrounding the death of a conglomerate head. The story is a critical look into contemporary Korean society, which has become increasingly reliant and centered on large multinational conglomerates.
As part of the festival’s supplemental program, six plays which fall under the experimental category will also be presented starting with Theater Zero company’s “Hole Man” which will run from May 17-22 at the Arko Art Center’s small theater.
This year’s edition will also see festival goers participating in an event that will invite them to critique and judge selections competing on the main program.
The Seoul Theater Festival is considered Korea’s longest running festival of its kind since its inaugural event in 1977 when it was known then as “Daehanminguk Theater Festival.“
The festival has so far produced some 300 stage plays that have gone on to influence and inspire other luminaries in the dramatic arts for over three decades.
By Song Woong-ki (firstname.lastname@example.org)