Head of Examination Entrance Department at MBC Academy of Drama & Music
THE MASTERPIECE OF KOREAN MUSICAL, SINCE ITS DEBUT ON MAY 1994, DREW 470,000 AUDIENCE MEMBERS AND HAS PLAYED OVER 2,000 TIMES.
THE NO. 1 SUBWAY LINE is a play of depicting Seoulites as they really are through the eyes of a Sun-yoe who is from Yeonbeon. There are various characters in the scenes, such as a jobless head of family, a runaway girl, a self-injury blackmailer, a peddler and a quasi-preacher, whom we can see in everyday life. It describes these features in our daily life in late 20th century Korean Society using satire and humor. And it has gained the sympathy of various generations from the young and the middle-aged as well.
When The No. 1 Subway Line performs every year, it is modified and added to, in order to improve its reality and perfection, receiving excellent reviews both at home and abroad. It has been played over 2,000 times so far and this coming 14th of May is its 10th anniversary. There are several reasons why this play has attracted so much popularity and success.
First, it has a strongly developed structure. The play lasts two and a half hours and is not boring at all. Its fast developing story and minute-to- minute set changes makes the audience afraid to take their eyes off the stage for even a moment. A live musical performance enlivens the ambience also supporting the flow of the play. Second, it is the sense of the producer that penetrates into our emotions. Sometimes it gives us a sharp pinch on society seen through a bourgeois point of view, while at other times evoking our deep sympathetic laughter. Also, it reflects on heart-breaking realities that can be felt everywhere.
An interesting and absorbing work of drama come from the sympathy of the audience to the performance. Presently, we can see many dramatic works performing on University Street. Most of them are not intended to reflect reality and do not make sense. But, do not make any forced interpretation. This is the power of producer, Kim Min-gi.
Third, is the splendid acting of the plays cast. Music is the art of the performers. They have to be full of life on stage. In this play, the cast shows their brilliant acting. They all look enlivened on stage. Seol Kyoung-gu, a famous actor, was one of the performers in the play. The harmony between the acting and tempo of the play is so smooth, it feels seamless. It's just like two cogwheels. The audition process casts performers with truly strongly developed acting skills. Most plays performed at University Street do not have contract performers. But the performers in this play are all contracted employees. So, they are treated that much better. Kim Min-gi a producer from Hakjun Troupe treats them with very strong management. It gave the theatrical group at University Street a surprising shock.
In their expression of feelings of joy and sorrow we can see the laughter and tears of the performers. In addition, on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the performances are captioned in Japanese, and on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday in English. The well-knitted structure and excellent stage setting of the play make effective use of the small theater. The splendid acting of the performers, clean-cut music and realistic expression of stories from our daily lives, not just for one generation but all generations make this play worth seeing. I will give a big hand to welcome the 10th anniversary on this coming May 14th. And I, myself, as a theater person majoring in Drama and acting at University Street, am fully encouraged by and expect lots of good plays with long running performances like No. 1 Subway Line to come out in the future.