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Francophone Theater Festival kicks off in Seoul

The five-day Francophone Festival, organized by the Korean International Theatre & Arts Company, kicked off its inaugural edition in Seoul on Wednesday.

“The festival’s first edition in Seoul hopes to celebrate the cultural diversity that spans the French-speaking countries. It also hopes to promote the French language and also strengthen ties between the two nations, France and Korea,” said Patricia Vilfeu from KITAC during a press conference Tuesday in Seoul.

A scene from Cueilleurs de Brume’s “Forest of Illusions” (KITAC)
A scene from Cueilleurs de Brume’s “Forest of Illusions” (KITAC)

With the aim of being an annual event, the festival highlights theatrical works made by companies based in French-speaking nations, along with workshops and discussions.

Theater company Cueilleurs de Brume’s contemporary Guyanese production “Forest of Illusions,” written by Gregory Alexanderis, opened the festival Wednesday at Dream Art Center Hall.

Theatre de Liege’s “King Kong Theory” by Virginie Despentes will be staged Thursday, starring Korean actress Kweon Mi-na and French-Belgian actress and director Selma Alaoui, who will give a two-voice reading of the theatrical work. The show is the first collaboration between Theatre de Liege and the Korean National Theater Company.

The festival also features works written by French actor and playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce.

The Simple Instant Company will stage “The Bath” on Friday, and Theatre Francophonies -- a local company that stages French theater productions -- will put up its own version of “Just the End of the World” by Lagarce.

“Just the End of the World,” which has a well-known film adaptation by Xavier Dolan, will be performed in Korean, with French and English subtitles.

Theatre Francophonies’ “Just the End of the World” will run through April 7 at ArtOne Theater, separate from the festival.

As part of the festival, French actor and writer Lorant Deutsch will give two lectures offering an in-depth look at the French culture and language.

On Saturday, Deutsch will hold a 75-minute stand-up performance titled “Paris, A Walk Along the Seine.” During the show, he will talk the audience through Paris, mixing history, architecture and anecdotes related to the city. The author will use an interactive map of Paris and 3D reconstructions of places and monuments in Paris to help the audience better understand the city.

In another 75-minute session on Sunday, titled “The Crazy Adventure of the French Language,” Deutsch will show how the French language has changed throughout history.

By Shim Woo-hyun (
Korea Herald Youtube