Musicals have gained so much popularity, especially in the recent years, and have reached the point of being equally, or even more, appealing as moviegoing for some people. All the more so, given their increasing accessibility, interactive atmosphere during the performance, dynamic unfolding of the story with ad-libs, and diverse topics target different parts of the population. So, if you have not yet tried one of these goodies, or are still brainstorming for your plans this winter, here are some suggestions for those with varying tastes: foreign and eccentric, dreams and perseverance, and appreciation of the moment – so watch whatever floats your boat.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is one of the most eccentric, and perhaps striking, performances around. Not only is it accompanied by rock music, but it also ponders about self and being. The audience learns about the story behind who Hedwig is and what made this inch angry.
The story dates back to the 60, set in East Germany. A timid German boy Hansel loves listening to pop music on American radio broadcasts. Then turns up an American soldier Luther, who asks Hansel to marry him, provided that Hansel will undergo a transgender surgery. Having accepted this proposal, Hansel decides to change his name to Hedwig, but his surgeon fails to fully turn him into a woman. After moving to the States, Luther leaves Hedwig, and Hedwig makes her living in a trailer house in Kansas. She begins wearing make-up and wigs and starts a band called “Angry Inch” to perform at bars and fast food restaurants until one day, she falls in love with a 16-year-old boy called Tommy. Hedwig wants to teach him rock music, but he too leaves her after having learned about Hedwig’s sexual identity, and steals her songs to become a world-renowned rock star. Deeply hurt, Hedwig goes after Tommy on his nationwide tour concert venues. The two of them meet again by chance, and she finds her scars and loathing become overwhelmed by the fact that she met him again. However, shortly after the reunion, their car crashes, and Hedwig’s identity is revealed to the whole world.
If you fancy a unique combination of rock music and lyrical monologues with a philosophical twist on finding the self, go for Hedwig at Chungnam National University on December 1 and 2.
Ziller, roughly translated as “shout,” is probably well known to KAIST freshmen because of its recent performance in the Auditorium (E16). This musical centers around a man named Tae Jin, who strives for his long-awaited dream of becoming a singer.
Tae Jin gets a job as a janitor at a karaoke place, thanks to his friend Yeong Duk, and he continues his aspiration as a singer despite the skeptic and doubtful manager who only wants him to keep the place clean. On the other hand, Ara, the daughter of the manager, is attracted by Tae Jin’s firm determination. The plot rapidly progresses when Yeong Duk steals money from the manager to buy lottery tickets, and Tae Jin decides to take the blame instead. The story concludes to reveal and trigger many thoughts in the audience about the material and mental well-being, aspiration and perseverance, and camaraderie.
This would be the ideal musical if you are looking for something to make your heart beat faster when you look back, or indeed, look forward to your own goal in life. Performances will continue until November 25 at the Isu Art Hall.
Always Be Happy
This musical, as its name suggests, finds value in the everyday things that we might sometimes have forgotten, or deliberately or subconsciously ignored. At the same time, it is an opportunity for a unique experience, where the audience can join the actors and actresses onstage to participate in a “standing musical,” or “concert musical.”
The story is about a man named Tae Yang and a woman named Doo Na; Tae Yang has not been able to forget his love for the last 10 years while Doo Na too has always been keeping only one person in her mind through that decade. Then, Doo Na’s friends do whatever they can to help the two of them see each other again and help them and the audience realize the significance of every moment spent together.
The biggest advantage of this musical is its interactive and participative ambience and the blurring of the border between the audience and the stage. Should you wish to spend a day for the performance held at the Daejeon Open Concert, be sure to go in comfortable attire to sing and dance along with the performers and the rest of the theatergoers.