Celebrating the centenary of Korean theatre in 2008, the South Korean theatre maker / composer Jaha Koo realized that there is actually no space for Korean theatre tradition: what is regarded as Korean theatre is largely determined by the Western canon. But why are the South Koreans so proud of this Western interpretation? And why does everyone keep referring to Shakespeare? It raises questions about tradition, self-censorship and authenticity.
In this final piece of his Hamartia trilogy, Jaha Koo resolutely focuses on the future. Meticulously, he exposes the tragic impact of the past on our lives, unveiling the small cracks in modern Confucianism - an ideology that continues to define the moral system, way of life and social relations between generations in South Korea. With a new generation of South Koreans in mind, he attempts to break with a tradition full of self-censorship and keeping up appearances. Because only when based on an authentic version of history, he can pass on a future to the next generation.
Like the performances Lolling & Rolling and Cuckoo, which respectively focused on South Korea's past and present, The History of Korean Western Theatre is an intelligent documentary theatre performance in which Jaha Koo interweaves personal stories with historical, political and sociological facts. Often themes that contain a clash of Eastern and Western culture: from cutting string of tongue to make it in the West, to the heavy personal toll of Western interference on a macroeconomic level.
Premiere: postponed due to COVID-19 (was due 8 May 2020, Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels)