Friday, 2 June 2017

Medea on Dramaturgy: Hyuntak Kim @ Edfringe 2017

Seongbukdong Beedoolkee - supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea 
UK Premiere

Award-winning Korean company present a tragedy for the age of information saturation.
Adapted and directed by Hyuntak Kim 

C Venue (+3), 2 – 28 Aug 2017, 12.50 (13.55)

A multi award-winning modern retelling of Euripides’ tragedy, Korean director Hyuntak Kim refracts Medea through the many channels, devices and means of communication which we use every day. 

Presenting Medea through television programmes, news items, a pop song, detective film and many more, the 2009 production grows more and more relevant in a post truth era.

In MEDEA on Media the tragedy of Medea is caused by the media, as it is continually summoned and relished. The media is presented as the means to satisfy a hunger for violence and obscenity which simultaneously hides and ridicules the truth, breaking down the wall between reality and fiction, and providing a pretext for distorted judgment and choices.

1. What was the inspiration for this performance?
My original name is ‘Kim Hyun-Tak’, but you can pronounce my name as ‘Key Man-Tag'. Which combination of English words do you think sounds the most similar to my Korean name to you?
By asking you this question, I can give you an idea of where my inspiration and joy to create this performance come from, as you can see that I like to play with words. Also, including my previous and current works such as “Death of a Man, SALE” (Death of a Salesman), “Oh The Yellow” (Othello), “Bye Cycle” (Bicycle), and “Medea on Media” (Medea). 

For Medea on Media, my motivation comes from the fact that one of the reasons why the Columbine high school massacre happened is that the criminals were addicted to video games and were severely influenced by violence in video games.

I wanted to talk about the massive effect of media on our lives, and the word ‘Media’ reminded me of ‘Medea'. Moreover, I found the tragedy from the ancient time still exists in media nowadays and decided to show how each channel of media affects and drives us into a tragedy that we could not imagine it would happen in our daily lives.

2. Is performance still a good space for the public discussion of ideas?
'What is the media of “Theatre” in the flood of “Media” these days?'

The two words 'Theatre' and 'Media' come from different roots. The former is an art form of collaboration with several art fields, and the latter is the combination of technic devices or institutions that make mass communication possible nowadays. Theatre has been influenced by the media inevitably since it started.

This performance presents a new way to think and implement classic contents from different perspectives through the exquisite fusion of 'Theatre' and 'Media'. We put classic tragedies into media without changing their characteristics and aesthetic standards. 

In the theatre, we call it Heterogeneous Communication Style, and conversely, the experiment to replace the theatricality through the media with the simultaneous conversation from the classic not only makes us to see the transformation of stories or events by the media in high-quality level but also a considerable criticism in the Show together.
3. How did you become interested in making performance?
Since my childhood, I found TV was very close to me - almost as a friend - because, at the time when my parents were working, I used to spend so much time at home watching cartoons, dance, music, talk shows, video games, and more. I learned all my artistic literacy from the media. All these media made me think that TV is the actual reality and the life is not real.

After that, when I began to understand about the shock that I felt in my life through media, I wanted to express this feeling and show to people how the one could be affected by the media. I found films, broadcasting, and theatre but in movies and broadcast, you do not express directly on the live stage to people. However, I found it is possible in theatre to express my life-experience of media to people and through people (actors) lively.

That is how everything started.

4. Is there any particular approach to the making of the show?
The process of recreation is not limited to a simple adaptation, simply reanalyze the stories or problems of the original contents. I recognized this point and always eager to create the construction of new forms for comprehension of new ideas.

I would say, as approaching channel where I made the scene of the original contents into TV channels of music, news, games, and more, I needed to be precise to make sure all the channels are must be in chronological order not to affect the graph of the original contents. When you want to switch the channel to another channel of TV, you must be exposed and watching tragic stories flow in the same timeline as the former one on different channels. The approach channels weigh on in updating the tragedy through the most various media language.

Therefore, I do not merely show the conceptual device which juxtaposes the situation of the media and that of the theatre, but it creates lots of overlaps of means by the invisible energy and the plastic beauty. Finally, it makes our eyes turn toward our lives. All of these have been done by actors such as athletes and religious leaders.
5. Does the show fit with your usual productions?
I think this performance fits very well with my usual works. This performance shows each and every aspect of life that we are dealing with in our everyday life in a tragic way. Through Medea on Media, my intention was to bring out the point on how the contents from ancient time, Medea is so relevant to the form of cold, remorseless lenses of mass media in the world nowadays.
6. What do you hope that the audience will experience?
I don't hope or wish anything. Through Medea on Media, I just want to show fleeting scenes, loud noises and recurring sensational images causing empty laughter and interest, that makes the audience insensitive to the murder happens nearby. Just like the chorus behind the veil of anonymity, the audience abets all, without guilt or remorse.

It can evoke close connections between us, Medea and today's media and arouse the consideration about our society deeply influenced by the mass media.
7. What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?
For this production of Medea on Media, I have considered about theatrical media without actual television but the stage as TV and regular fluorescent lights as stage setup. Through actor’s body and the language, they bring to the floor. Where the audience could feel and be related that they are watching TV when they are not. That is the trick where I think the production of Medea on Media can deceive the audience.

Are you really watching a theatre performance or actual TV?

Hyuntak Kim has been lauded as the Korean Grotowski, and is known for creating contemporary productions that draw on the Western canon, including Medea, The Maids and Death of a Salesman which is performed with Willy Loman running on a treadmill throughout the play. 

Medea on Media has toured within Korea and internationally to Germany (PAF Award for Best Theatre Production), Romania’s Sibiu International Theatre Festival and Interferences International Theatre Festival and the Singapore International Festival of Arts.

Presented in Korean with English translation, Medea betrays her family for love, following her husband, Jason, on his quest. But when he later abandons her for another, Medea takes her devastating revenge. Kim’s production numbs the audience to the tragedy with fleeting scenes and sensational images drawing attention to the narrative construction at every turn.

Hyuntak Kim said, “Quote”
Seongbudong Beedoolkee’s MEDEA on Media is part of a showcase of Korean shows at the 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe, supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea - consisting of MEDEA on media, Behind the Mirror, TAGO: Korean DrumⅡ, Mind Goblin and SNAP. 

 | @Sbee2gee |
Running Time: 65 minutes | Suitable for ages 12+
Company Information
Written by Euripides 
Adapted and directed by Hyuntak Kim
Assistant Direction by Dongwoo Hwang PLEASE CONFIRM – taken from 2014 performances
Technical Direction by Jiwon Suh 
Stage Management by Daehyun Ji 
Production Management by Jungweon Mok

Cast PLEASE CONFIRM – taken from 2014 performances
Miok Kim Medea 
Minyoup Kim Jason 
Jinsung Lee Creon 
Mihyun Choi Nanny 
Keeyong Hong Aegeus/Chorus 
Sol Heo Glauce/Chorus
Hyunjin Shin Chorus 
Jina Kim Chorus  

Listings information

C Venue (+3), 3 Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1HR (Venue 34)
2 – 28 Aug, 12.50 – 13.55, Previews: 2-4 Aug
Previews 2-4 Aug: £10.50 (£8.50 concs, £6.50 under 18s)
5-8, 11-13, 18-20, 25-28 Aug: £12.50 (£10.50 concs, £8.50 under 18s, 2for1 available 7-8 Aug)
9-10,16-17, 23-24 Aug: £11.50 (£9.50 concs, £7.50 under 18s)
14-15, 21-22 Aug: £10.50 (£8.50 concs, £6.50 under 18s) | 0845 260 1234

Supported by Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea.

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