1963, Born in Seoul
1982, Started plays
1999, Launched Company “Golmokil”
2006, Won a Daesan Literary Awards in Drama
2007, Direct a Musical “The Great Catsby”
There is a man who has walked just one way. The man loved the theatre, so he decided to stake his life on drama. He quit his studies during the college and poured his tuition fee into the theatre. He entered the drama village in Jangchung-dong and started new life. At first time, he dreamed that he would be a play actor. But now, he has become a big name in the play as a writer and director. His name is Park Keun Hyoung (Park). This year, he directs his second Musical “The Great Catsby” which is challenging new genre. Sookmyung Times (SMT) met him when as he was busy preparing for his next work.
SMT: For over 20 years, you have directed lots of works. How did you become a theatre director?
Park: In 1982, there was one small cafe near Sookmyung Women’s University (SMU). I started acting there with anyone who wanted to present. Some of my comrades were Sookmyungians. We acted at the cafe which was a small theater for us. There was no motivation to make me start acting. However, even though I can’t remember which one, I saw the play somewhere and I dreamed that I would be a play actor. Then, I didn’t know about the stagehands or director in plays.
SMT: We can see many plays are about alienated people in your work. Do you have special reason for that?
Park: There is no special reason. Just, I lived with them from time to time. I lived in Gangbuk, not in poor condition but in ordinary condition. People whom I met were like my parents, my friends and all of my acquaintances. They were what are called worthless people. Most of my acquaintances were this kind of people. With these experiences that I saw and I heard, I made plays and presented them.
SMT: You work as both play director and playwriter now. Do you have any problem because you work both of them and what work that you prefer?
Park: When I use work someone else has already finished, it is easy. But when I write a play by myself, it is difficult because I do correct and I have no ability.
When I was young, I was surprised to see someone in encyclopedia who was a poet, play writer, and a director. Then I wondered, “How he could do all those things?” but now I know the works complement each other. In this way, I think play director and playwriter are not two, they are one.
SMT: You are one of the big in the drama world, but you direct musical this time. What motivated you to direct a new genre?
Park: I think the play and the musical are not totally different. I have little experience in musicals but my final destination is directing musical that write myself. For example, there are two pieces of work that are not same, but one is an expressionism piece and the other is an impressionism piece. Like an artist want to paint in different way, I want to direct musical not only play because ‘song’ puts people in high spirits. Do you know a place that has more singing rooms than Korea? I want to tell stories with songs. However, I don’t want European and American style. I desire to write a story about my parents who had fun time at the water with singing and dancing.
SMT: In Korea, Imported musicals are extremely expensive compared with Korean musicals. What is your opinion about this?
Park: I have no idea about this. For instance, we need more than a hundred thousand won to buy prestige product and there are some people who want to buy that one. They don’t want to buy it if the product is cheap. So, it is just one of those things. Over all, musical’s production cost is more expensive than a play’s production cost. Even though play excludes commercial things, it costs money therefore people calculate. This is same way in musical, too. What ever people call it, it depends on market regulation. Actually, there is no need of musical when we live on. There is no need for Louis Vuitton bags but people carry Louis Vuitton bags in their hands. I think it is not only musical’s problem but also Korean society’s problem.
SMT: Please give some advice to Sookmyungians.
Park: I know that SMU is good university. But now, students have less tenacity and less culture than before. I remember countrified but intelligent women went to the SMU. I believe the latent energy of Sookmyung which elbowed its way in the 1980s. Students! Study hard and play hard, too.