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This Week's Cultural News Updated: 2012-02-02 00:00:00 KST

Korea is welcoming more foreigners into its society each year, and inevitably, it faces issues related to multiculturalism. The 4-hour play "Pungchannosuk" focuses on the difficulties faced by foreigners in Korea.

[Interview : Clara Jeong, Audience member] "It's a difficult subject to approach, but it was very accessible in play form."

[Interview : Shin So-yeong, Audience member] "It had a lot more mythical and historical elements than I expected."

[Interview : Kim Yeong-mi, Audience member] "Even though the subject is very philosophic, the audience is able to enjoy itself because the actors make it so much fun."

"Pungchannosuk" is unique in every way, from plot to structure to use of the stage.

[Interview : Kim Jae-yeop, Producer] "The title "Pungchannosuk" indicates that the play is about people who sleep on the streets while eating their meals in the wind."

A long time ago, in a town on the outskirts of a country village, lives a community who are marginalized due to their mixed ethnic background.

The character Moongye dreams of a revolution of the mixed people. He believes that the mixed population's weakness lies in their lack of a proper history, so he goes to Eungbo, the smartest member of the community, and asks him to become the king of the mixed race. Eungbo eventually agrees.

[Interview : ] "I am the king of the mixed race. Stand straight with your head raised. I will beat the drum."

[Interview : Yoon Jeong-seop, Role of “Eung-bo”] "The character "Eung-bo" is the very human leader of the mixed race. He struggles with himself as he finds that his ideals are not accepted anymore in the reality of society."

The play examines the issue of multiculturalism and discrimination in the form of a myth, making the issue more accessible for the audience members.

The strength of the play lies in the abundant yet humorous script. Although the performance seems flawless and effortless, the actors had to work night and day to memorize the seemingly endless lines.

[Interview : Kim Ji-hun, Playwright] "Our mothers and grandparents used to say such beautiful things that became beautiful memories. I wanted to express those memories through my play. The press often depicts multicultural families in a tragic or depressing way, but I don't think that's the only side to the story. That's why I used humor to talk about the positive side of reality instead of filling the stage with a depressing story."

Stage effects play a big part throughout "Pungchannosuk." The audience seats become a hill, and a bridge runs across the ceiling. The actors enter and exit through doors installed all around the theater. The stage design gave the actors more freedom in their performance, and added a touch of thrill for the audience.

The constantly changing lights and stage fixtures keep the audience riveted throughout the performance.

[Interview : Kim Jae-yeop, Producer] "We wanted to utilize everything that a theater had to offer, and to show our audience over the course of four hours that a theater is not only a venue for a great play performance, but that the theater itself can transform into a very creative place that becomes part of the story being enacted onstage."

The Korea of "Pungchannosuk" may be what Korea will be like ten, twenty years down the road.

[Interview : Yoon Jeong-seop, Role of “Eung-bo”] "I realized that there was not enough attention given to the marginalized people in society."

[Interview : Kim Ji-hun, Playwright] "I hope that audience members will come to the performance asking themselves why I would have written a play like this, steeling themselves for the answer."

A play that depicts a very possible future scene in Korea’s society. Take a moment today to think about the message being given by "Pungchannosuk."

[Interview : ] "This is a US$1 million phone book. $1 million!"

Choi Min-sik and Ha Jung-woo, two of Korea's best actors, come together in an action-packed thriller called "Fight Against Crime." The combination of these two actors alone has everyone looking forward to the movie.

[Interview : Ha Jung-woo, Role of “Choi Hyeong-bae”] "My character believes that loyalty is the most important thing of all. When he trusts someone, he trusts in them until the end, but once that trust is broken, he coldly turns away."

Corrupt government official Choi Ik-hyeon wins the trust of the head of an organized crime family through his lobbying and social skills. Together, the two men begin to slowly take over the city of Busan, but when a citywide "fight against crime" is announced, the two men's relationship begins to crumble.

[Interview : Choi Min-sik, Role of “Choi Ik-hyeon”] "Pretending to hit or pretending to be hit just isn't enough."

The actors willingly put their all into creating realistic action scenes for the movie.

[Interview : Kim Yeong-seon, Role of “Ji Yeong”] "When do you think I'll ever get the chance to hit Choi Min-sik again

The fight against crime turns into a battle for the death in February 2012. Don't miss "Fight Against Crime."

Chun-seop is an entertainment manager who chases a runaway star into the United States and ends up becoming an illegal alien. In order to gain legal residency, he volunteers to become the guardian of six children he doesn't know, and a unique family is born.

[Interview : ] "Without me, you would all be in an orphanage!"

[Interview : ] "One call from me, and you'll be deported!"

[Interview : ] "If I get deported, it's no happy ending for you either!"

"Papa" presents a relationship of necessity between six kids who need a guardian and a man who needs an American family!

Take your family along to watch this hilarious yet heartwarming movie this month.
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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