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Meet Shakespeare in Love!

  Shakespeare, a genius playwright whom the Queen of England said she would not trade with India. You must have wondered at least once what kind of person Shakespeare was like. In front of William Shakespeare, who was suffering from a lack of inspiration, a beautiful woman named Viola De Lesseps appeared to save him and the script. The play "Shakespeare in Love" started with the imagination that Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" was inspired by Shakespeare's tragic love. The play "Shakespeare in Love" will be the Seoul Arts Center's 30th-anniversary opening performance and its historical premiere in Korea. It will meet with audiences from January 28 to March 26, 2023, at the CJ Towol Theater at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-Gu, Seoul.

 

Korean Premiere of the Play "Shakespeare in Love"

  The original film was produced by producer and writer Marc Norman and Britain's best playwright Tom Stoppard, who has won the most prestigious award ceremonies, such as the Academy, Golden Globes, and Tony Awards. It was completed as a common scenario. The film won the best picture award at the 71st Academy Awards in 1999 and swept the world's leading awards, including four Golden Globe awards and four British Academy Film Awards. "Shakespeare in Love" has wonderfully portrayed the human Shakespeare, who was thought to be able to write smoothly without any worries, but is troubled and conflicted with inspiration that does not come to mind like ordinary people.

  In this Korean premiere production in 2023, Jung Moon-sung, Lee Sang-Yi, and Kim Sung-Cheol, who have both solid acting skills and public awareness, were cast for the role of Shakespeare, and Jung So-Min, Chae Soo-bin, and Kim Yoo-Jung were cast as Viola. At the same time, veteran actors such as Song Young-Gyu, Lim Cheol-hyeong, Oh Yong, Lee Ho-young, Kim Do-vin, and Park Jung-won, who will hold the weight of the work, joined to enhance the completeness of the play. This work brought the merits of the original film, which led the story by properly quoting Shakespeare's lines and sonnet phrases. At the same time, it provides more thrilling fun than the movie with its massive, constantly moving stage equipment and close collaboration between 22 actors. The love between Shakespeare and Viola in the play often hits the reef of reality, but their love for the play spreads out their sails and moves forward. Producer Song Han-saem, who was in charge of producing, said at a press conference held at the Seoul Arts Center on February 7, 2022, "It is a work that depicts not only the love of Shakespeare and Viola but also the stories of people who follow their dreams by making plays." The stage system, which embodies London's amphitheater and back-alley bars, which used to be a gathering place for freewheeling artists, delight will delight the eyes with delicate historical evidence.

  There were concerns ahead of the Korean premiere of "Shakespeare in Love." This is because many parts of the story and lines overlap with "Romeo and Juliet," which could have been a cliché if it had been done wrong. In addition, it was a burden that the VIP ticket price exceeded 100,000 won for the first time in a play by the unconventional casting of famous actors Jung So-Min, Chae Soo-bin, and Kim Yoo-Jung. Despite such concerns, as of February 11, 2023, at Interpark and Yes24, "Shakespeare in Love" is receiving a hot response with a rating of 9.4.

 

Combination of Historical Evidence and Fiction

  "Shakespeare in Love" is set in a theater in London, England, in 1593, during the reign of Elizabeth I. The story begins when the theater owners struggle to recruit famous writers and actors, and Shakespeare emerges as a popular writer. Through this play, we can look at the image of England during the Renaissance.

  The era when Shakespeare lived was when commerce and trade were significantly developed, and royal authority was strong. The image of this era, which has grown to become the most powerful country in Europe, can be confirmed by the colorful costumes of the male and female protagonists. In addition, various real people are set as characters in this play, and Elizabeth I and Christopher Marlowe, who lived in the same era as Shakespeare, appear. The fun of the play doubles with real-life figures such as Queen Elizabeth I, who boasted strong royal authority enough to say, 'The Queen married the nation,' and Shakespeare's rival and outstanding playwright Christopher Marlowe.

  Meanwhile, through Viola's appearance as Shakespeare's lover, you can get a glimpse of discrimination and oppression against women in British society. Viola is a woman with beauty and intelligence who loves poetry and literature and dreams of becoming a theater actor, but the woman of that era could not stand on the stage. Nevertheless, unlike Juliet in the classic, Viola appears as an independent woman, acquiring the main character Romeo to achieve a job as an actor without yielding to the customs that society suppresses. In addition, the streets, theaters, and palaces of Shakespeare's era clearly show the 16th-century English society. 'Shakespeare in Love' vividly shows British society in the past and impresses with fantastical elements based on historical facts.

 

The World of William Shakespeare's Works

  William Shakespeare wrote 36 screenplays and 154 14-line poems (sonnets). The complete collection of his plays was compiled in 1623 by his colleagues in the theatrical company. Shakespeare received tremendous praise during his lifetime and continued to be revered even after his death. The 19th-century British critic Thomas Carlyle predicted that England would lose India one day, but Shakespeare would be with us forever. Although called 'gentle Shakespeare,' he had an incomparable comprehensive eye for insight into human psychology. He created the best poetic beauty by exercising the potential of modern English to the utmost. As a leading playwright of Renaissance British theater, Shakespeare has achieved beyond all outstanding contemporary playwrights such as Christopher Malo, Ben Johnson, and John Webster. His creative scope covers all genres, including historical, comedy, and tragedy.

  Shakespeare's play puts the problems that arise in human relationships at the very bottom. His play could not have been so enjoyable without Shakespeare's interest and curiosity in humans. Moreover, Shakespeare's characters are beyond the limits of the times. Another testament to Shakespeare's brilliance is his literary and theatrical imagination and luscious expressiveness. Shakespeare has fascinated audiences and readers by using the structure of the theater to which he belongs and demonstrating his infinite creativity that transcends structural limitations.

  Shakespeare's work contains elements that can explore almost all areas of life beyond time and space. Even for modern management scholars and politicians, Shakespeare is a great guide. Furthermore, like Hamlet's famous line, "To be or not to be, that is the question," Shakespeare left behind many favorite lines that no one dares to imitate. Every word of expression in his works makes the audience hit their knees, and the subtle and mysterious expressions contain earnest reflections on life. Through Shakespeare's works, we realize the preciousness of life and admire the literary scent that his works bring. We can see Shakespeare's life more in the play "Shakespeare in Love." So why don't we get immersed in the very romantic love that Shakespeare sang about?

 

"You will never age for me, fade, or die." - William Shakespeare

"No! Not the artful postures of love, but love that overthrows life. Unbiddable, ungovernable, like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love as there has never been in a play. I will have love." - Viola De Lesseps

 

최승빈  carpediem_oon@inha.edu

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