Healing Korean Musical 빨래
Jean Kwon, ‘19
Musicals have become a familiar form of entertainment in Korea. Not long ago, a majority of Koreans felt some distance from musicals, as they only thought of huge productions such as Les Miserables and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. These pieces have foreign backgrounds and unfamiliar plots that Koreans cannot sympathize with or understand easily. For the past few years, however, Korean musical productions have solved this problem. 빨래(Laundry), now facing its 12th anniversary, is one of the most famous domestic musicals, evoking a sense of empathy from its Korean audience.
The Musical Laundry was first performed by the graduates of the Korean National University of Arts in 2005. Instead of performing on a big stage, the graduates decided to use a small theater. This feature has brought positive reviews, since the actors were able to communicate more with the audience. Now, the 18th crew of the musical performs at Hyehwadong, while the 19th crew is preparing to carry on the tradition in March 2017.
The story takes place in gloomy, underdeveloped areas in Seoul and depicts the tough lives of people who live there. Solongo, a young man from Mongolia, receives unfair treatment from the factory that he works in. Nayoung, a clerk who works at a book store, does not receive much respect from the people at her job. As the characters share their problems with each other and receive consolation, the audience is also comforted.
One of the reasons why Laundry became so famous is its magnificent numbers. The numbers of the musical are very well composed and organized. The lyrics are based on the everyday lives of people and their troubles. The number “참 예뻐요” by Hong Gwang Ho especially gained much fame due to its beautiful melodies and lyrics.
The touching plot and charming numbers made the musical Laundry a resonating performance for its Korean audience. The interactions between the actors and the audience provide much entertainment during the whole play. This communication is, and will be, the most distinguished characteristic of the musical Laundry that sets it apart from other musicals. Laundry is truly the greatest representative of the modern Korean musical.