By Chung Ah-young
The "Yeongeuk Yeoljeon 2 (A Series of the Best Plays)", which began on Dec. 7, 2007, finally drew its curtains Monday, reinvigorating the faltering theater scene in Daehangno.
For the last 13 months, ten plays were performed under the motto of "popularization of the theater arts" by veteran actor and programmer Cho Jae-hyun, along with Dongsoong Art Center's Theater Company to save the sagging theater industry with the star-studded cast.
Scoring a big success in economically hard times, the project came four years after 2004's " Yeongeuk Yeoljeon", which put 14 plays on stage.
In the closing ceremony at Dongsoong Art Center, actor Song Young-chang
, who starred in the play "University of Laughs" written by Japanese dramatist Koki Mitani, won the award for best acting and the play (University of Laughs) received the best play award judged by participating actors, staff, reporters and audience members.
Results of 13-Month Project
The project attracted a total of 247,814 people with a 96 percent seat occupation rate, much higher than the 170,000 people and 60 percent seat occupation rate in the 2004 project.
"Clumsy People" directed and written by Jang Jin
, "A Story of Old Thieves", directed by Kim Ji-hoon and "Mindeulre Baramdoioe" starring Cho Jae-hyun
"A Story of Old Thieves" became the best-seller performance, touring around the nation.
"Educating Rita", starring actress Choi Hwa-jung
, extended its run in response to soaring demand, while "Mindeulre Baramdoioe" will go on after the closing ceremony.
Power of Stars, Good Programming
Casting celebrities has become a key element to attract young audience members. Programmer Jo selected familiar and popular works, targeting the general audience, and cast celebrities such as Han Chae-young
, Go Soo
, Na Moon-hee
, Choi Hwa-jung
, Hwang Jung-min
and Lee Soon-jae
Although the project was successful in garnering popularity, critics have pointed out there have been fewer creative and new works with highly theatrical artistry and relied heavily on the reputation of stars.
But a discounted ticket package and a meeting with actors after the plays every Wednesday contributed to the popularity of the project.
Next Project `Yeongeuk Yeoljeon 3'
The theater company said that it will hold the best series every other year to maintain the popularity of the plays.
" Yeongeuk Yeoljeon 3" will begin in December this year and will continue for 13 months. The company said that in the next project, the dependence on stars will be reduced and, instead, plays for medium-sized theaters will be introduced to improve on the recent project that focused on staging plays at small theaters.
In addition, the next project will build on cooperation with other theater troupes, such as with "The Return of Mr. Um", a joint production by Theater Golmokgil.
"I'll make the `Yeongeun Yeoljeon 3' better after receiving encouragement and advice from many people to share the plays with more people", said Hong Ki-yoon, head of the theater company.
"I know that there were many flaws in the recent project, but I don't want to change everything and continue this legacy with gradual change", Jo said.