‘Yonadab,” a Play
The Winning Team of the H-STAR Festival
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For about twelve days from August 17th through 28th, the 2016 H-STAR Festival, a nationwide university drama and musical competition, was hosted by the Hyundai Motors Group and Kore Association of Performing Arts Producers (KAPAP). The drama team ‘Yonadab’ comprised of students from the Department of Theater and Film of Hanyang University (HYU), shined brightly in the competition by winning both the grand prize and production prize in the drama sector. To celebrate this great achievement, the Internet Hanyang News (IHN) interviewed the winner of the production prize and the two main actors in the drama, ‘Yonadab.’
▲ Chang Ji-soo (Department of Theater and Film ’15), Kim So-hyun (Department of Theater and Film ’13) and Oh Kyung-joo (Department of Theater and Film ’11)
A Story in the Bible
The entire crew of ‘Yonadab’ worked together to produce a brilliant performance in the H-STAR Festival. Yet, the three members of the team, Kim So-hyun (Department of Theater and Film ’13), Oh Kyung-joo (Department of Theater and Film ’11), and Chang Ji-soo (Department of Theater and Film ’15) have shown exceptional talents as director and as actors. Kim was the main director of the play, who won the best production prize in the competition. Also, Oh and Chang played the two main characters in “Yonadab,” Yonadab and Tamar respectively.
▲'Yonadab' is a historical play created based on a story of King David in the Old Testament, the Bible. (Photo courtesy of 'Yonadab' crew)
The play, “Yonadab,” was originally written by renowned English screenwriter, Peter Scaffer. He wrote plays like “Amadeus” and “Equus.” The story is based on a famous tale from the Old Testament of the Bible, specifically in the time during King David’s reign. Yonadab was King David’s nephew who denied the existence of God and its influence on the Israelites. Trying to disprove the power of God by destroying King David’s family, Yonadab tempted one of the sons of King David, Amnom, to rape his stepsister, Tamar. The tragedy led to a domestic war between Amnom and Absalom, Tamar’s brother, and eventually to the destruction of family relationship. The play focuses on the emotional and spiritual aspects of Yonadab who struggles between good and evil. Thankfully, the crew successfully performed the exorbitant play, a result of the hard work on and off stage. The reporters of IHN probed deeper to hear about their story behind the scenes.
Q. How do you feel about winning the grand prize?
Kim – “Two years ago, I participated in the same competition as one of the crew members. Unfortunately, we were not able to win any awards. However, I am amazed that we were able to win both the grand prize and production prize this year. I wouldn’t have felt great by just winning the production prize myself, but since we won the grand prize as a single team, I am proud of all of the members.”
Oh – “Our crew spent about six months for the final performance and I feel like the hard work has paid off. I am grateful for the crew members and the professors who have spent late nights preparing for the play with the crew.”
Chang – “This was my first official performance in a play and I was very nervous about how it would turn out. Thanks to the help of the fellow actors, the director, and backstage crew, I was able to do well in acting Tamar. I am very glad we won the grand prize.”
Q. Can you tell us about the process in creating the play? What were some of the difficulties?
Kim – “As the director of the play, I had to look over the entire crew which included acting, stage setting, make-up and many more. I was involved in all meetings regarding the play and it was important for me to make sure the team agreed on the details of the play. One of the difficulties before the actual performance was the difference in stage size- the competition stage and the stage we practiced on at school. We had to reduce the number of crops used in the play in order to make sure it fit within the performance stage. The hardest part of all was doing that within ten hours before the performance!”
Oh – “Since I played the main character of the play, my job was to understand completely who Yonadab is and to sympathize with his feelings. To do that, I spent most of my time reading the script and taking detailed notes on it to make sure every scene would look as if a real Yonadab had come into existence onstage.”
Chang – “I learned to have faith in the other actors on stage while preparing for the play. Because I have never experienced the new role of Tamar which required seductive and sexual expressions in acting. There were times when I struggled emotionally on and off the stage. However, the professors and actors, including Oh, supported me to endure it and to perform to my full potential.”
Q. How will this experience, as being part of the winning play, help you in the future?
Kim – “As a senior waiting for graduation and director of many plays, I was uncertain whether I was capable of pursuing what I had done so far at HYU after leaving. However, the experience at this year’s H-STAR Festival has given me confidence to continue the job in producing plays after graduation. It will be an unforgettable event for me.”
Oh – “Dramas and plays lead me in life- it throws important life questions that I need to consider. They correlate intimately with my decisions. For example, ‘Yonadab’ makes us think about the conflicting ideas of faith and distrust which we encounter in daily matters. Therefore, through the play, I have learned that it gives us opportunity to consider our life and to help us make decisions. It is like a signpost that guides us through the way.”
Chang – “As I mentioned earlier, this was my first performance. Being a part of the winning play might be a perfect start to my acting career. Yet, I want to make sure that I always remember the effort and the time I have put into this piece to keep me going in future projects. I have attached the poster and the script on the walls of my room for me to remember it all.”
Q. What does a ‘play’ mean to you?
Kim – “A play helps us to understand what it is like to live because it is a story, whether my own or someone else’s. It is interesting to hear and learn about the many stories that unfold within a play. Therefore, it is like a teacher to me, helping me to understand the world.”
Oh – “It is what I love and what I enjoy the most. Simply, like the word, “play,” it is like playing my favorite game. I am not acting in a play because I have to but because I enjoy it with my heart.”
Chang – “A play provides me with a space to act in as much as I want and by doing that, I feel l alive. Without plays, I wouldn’t have been able to feel such a lively sensation, expressing different emotions and pouring it out on stage.”
Reason for Success
The Department of Theater and Film at Hanyang has a rich history of producing skilled actors and producers in the current field of media and theater. These successful phenomena can be explained by the everlasting support and work of past graduates, current professors, and active students who form a sound unison in planting seeds in developing the department. Just by looking at the act of the ‘Yonadab’ crew members and Kim donating the prize money to the school department, there is a reason why the team has gained such glory through the competition and why the school is proud of them all.
▲ The three interviewees did not forget to mention that the entire crew, from actors to staff members, worked hard together for the performance.
Park Min-young firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Kim Youn-soo
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