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.
Duration: 60 minutes / Korean spoken with Dutch and English surtitles
With an amazing talent Jaha Koo bridges the richness of Eastern cultural traditions with the use of technology and contemporary art to anchor us in the present. To make us reflect on our collective future.
Coming from a corner of the world caught between frightening totalitarianism and savage capitalism, Jaha Koo's reflections are patently relevant.
While I learnt a great deal from the show, it is anything but blandly educational, thanks to its freewheeling blend of autobiography and history, and pop and folk culture.
Il fait une démonstration magistrale de la capacité du théâtre contemporain à jouer de tous les langages, – textuels, sonores et visuels – pour circonscrire un impossible : donner à sentir le poids du silence.
concept, text, direction, music & video Jaha Koo performance Jaha Koo, Seri & Toad dramaturgy Dries Douibi scenography & drawing Eunkyung Jeong artistic advisor Pol Heyvaert technical Korneel Coessens, Jan Berckmans, Bart Huybrechts, Koen Goossens (& Jonas Castelijns) hardware hacking Idella Craddock research Eunkyung Jeong & Jaha Koo research assistance Sang Ok Kim interview Jooyoung Koh, Kiran Kim & Kyungmi Lee production CAMPO co-produced by Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Brussels), Münchner Kammerspiele, Frascati Producties (Amsterdam), Veem House for Performance (Amsterdam), SPRING performing arts festival (Utrecht), Zürcher Theaterspektakel, Black Box teater (Oslo), International Summer Festival Kampnagel (Hamburg), Tanzquartier Wien, wpZimmer (Antwerp), Théâtre de la Bastille (Paris) & Festival d’Automne à Paris residencies Kunstencentrum BUDA (Kortrijk), wpZimmer (Antwerp), Decoratelier Jozef Wouters (Brussels), Doosan Art Center (Seoul) with the support of Beursschouwburg, Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie & Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst
CAMPO is supported by the city of Ghent and the Flemish Community.