Dohyun Gracia Shin

Profile: Seoul Performing Arts Company (SPAC) 본문


Profile: Seoul Performing Arts Company (SPAC)

Gracia Shin 2016. 7. 13. 10:00

Seoul Performing Arts Company (SPAC) is the national performing arts organisation under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea. Since 1986, they are producing original performances of Korean traditional contents. SPAC was originally established for the cultural exchange between North and South Korea, and for international events (esp. 88 Seoul Olympics). They are usually known to the public as a musical theatre as Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theatre(SMMT) is, but SPAC defines the identity of their performances as gamugeuk(歌舞劇). According to Hye-jin Jeong, the former art director of SPAC, gamuguek seeks their root from the traditional Korean performing arts of music(歌) and dance(舞). It is quite similar to the definition of the musical, but they intently choose the word gamugeuk to highlight the "Korean" context which differentiates themselves from musicals from the Anglo-based context.

However, SPAC's experimental attempt did not appeal to the public. Under the leadership of head director Seon-hee Shin, who thought popularity was necessary to SPAC, SPAC revives, successfully performing Tempest and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare; and Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Although they achieved to get the attention from the public, it can be said that it was somewhat a different attempt from their original purpose. After this revival, SPAC again lost the public’s interest. Therefore, under the leadership of art director Hye-jin Jeong, SPAC launched the Gamugeuk project, turning back to the original purpose and also trying to get the popularity at the same time.

Gamugeuk series of SPAC often incorporate a Korean folk religion as the contextual material. The Kingdom of the Winds: Muhyul (2006), the representative repertoire of SPAC, is an epic about the ancient Korean Dynasty and their four guardian gods. Along with the Gods (2015), one of the most popular gamugeuks of SPAC, is an adventure of the mediocre hero Ja-hong Kim and the lawyer from the underworld Gi-han Jin in the seven hells. The performance is based on the syncretized religion of Korea: Buddhism, Taoism and folk religion. Lost Face 1895 (2013) illuminates the life of Empress Myeongseong in various perspectives, borrowing the form of haewongut (ritual).

(Written in 2016)

(From SPAC Official HP)

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