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Published : 2014-07-30 20:58
Updated : 2014-07-30 20:58

The state-run National Theater of Korea introduced its repertory system in 2012. It was not an easy process. The theater company put together an entire program of performances in advance, then presented premieres and restaged shows alternately.

The system required the theater to increase the number of programs and plan early. It had to give up revenue from lending out the theater space, while taking on the burden of added costs.

Despite initial concerns, this innovative approach has started to bring theatergoers back to the venue at the base of Mount Namsan, central Seoul.

The theater unveiled the repertory program for its third season, titled “National Repertory Season 2014-2015,” on Monday to keep up the momentum. 
The poster for the National Repertory Season 2014-2015 at the National Theater of Korea. (National Theater of Korea)

The program will kick off on Aug. 30 and last until June 27 next year, featuring 53 performances, including 21 premieres.

“I am really grateful to open up the third season, against all the concerns and hardships we have faced,” said Ahn Ho-sang, the president of the theater, in a press conference on Monday. “We used to bring content from the West to introduce … (to) Korea. But I think it is about time to take the unique and beautiful Korean content to other countries.”

Six troupes will participate in the repertory program: three resident companies ― the National Changgeuk Company of Korea, National Dance Company of Korea and National Orchestra of Korea ― and three state-run troupes ― the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, Korean National Ballet and National Theater Company of Korea.

This season, the program will feature diverse premieres and renowned directors from home and abroad.

Andrei Serban, a Romanian-born American stage director, will use his creative and iconoclastic interpretative ability to recreate the well-known love story and folktale “Chunhyangjeon” with the National Changgeuk Company in November.

“As a director with many years of experience, I have a kind of … artistic insight. I felt (it would be a success) when I read the script of Serban’s ‘Chunhyangjeon,’” said Kim Sung-nyo, the troupe’s artistic director. “I am looking forward to the final rendition of the well-known ‘Chunhyangjeon’ peppered with Serban’s innovative and experimental interpretation.”

Changgeuk, a form of traditional Korean opera, has become more accessible to the public through the troupe’s ongoing efforts such as the Greek tragedy “Medea” and Korean traditional adult folktale “Madam Ong,” recently introduced in a changgeuk version. These two shows will be restaged as part of the repertory program in October and May next year, respectively. 
A scene from the National Changgeuk Company of Korea’s “Madam Ong.” (National Theater of Korea)

As the opening piece of the season, the National Dance Company will stage “Tournament,” directed by fashion designer Jung Kuho and choreographed by the troupe’s artistic director Yoon Sung-joo and choreographer Ahn Sung-soo.

The National Orchestra of Korea will perform a concert with Korean traditional instruments in April next year. Director Lim Hun-joung will lead the orchestra in rendering gugak, Korean classical music, in a Western style.

Korean rocker Shin Hae-chul will hold a rock-gugak concert with the orchestra in his avant-garde fashion in December.

For more information on the upcoming performances, visit www.ntok.go.kr.

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)

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