Spooky Action brings to DC for the first time Korean playwright Hansol Jung's masterful Among the Dead
In a recent interview for American Theatre magazine, South Korean playwright Hansol Jung confesses that everything she has written so far has been inspired by three well-known plays: Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith, How I Learned to Drive by Paula Vogel, and Ruined by Lynn Nottage. The inspired writing of her play Among the Dead opened the doors of the playwriting program at the Yale School of Drama for Hansol Jung, and this same inspired play will now be staged for the first time in Washington DC by Spooky Action Theater.
“I am excited to introduce our Washington audience to this exceptional young Korean playwright, whose work is now being recognized on a national scale," says Spooky Action Artistic Director Richard Henrich. "The play carries us through perilous memories on a spirit quest to a final homecoming that is heart melting in its simplicity and depth of feeling. I hope our audience will be surprised, delighted and moved by this story as much as I am!"
Described by The New York Times as an “outraged, deeply compassionate play” and “a smart and stinging new play that delves into painful business,” Among the Dead is a dark comedy about a family broken apart by betrayed promises, and finding each other through the unlikely intercession of canned SPAM, a wartime journal and Jesus. Scenes and settings interweave between widely separated places and times (a hotel room in Seoul, South Korea in 1975, the WWII jungle battleground of Myitkyina, Burma in 1944, and Hangang Bridge in Seoul, 1950), as four characters are carried through encounters they never dreamed of and finally touch the core of who they are.
Number Four is a Korean sex-slave fleeing the Imperial Japanese army in WWII. Luke Woods is a stranded American soldier. The two form an unlikely alliance to survive, and they end up with more than they bargained for – a baby, Ana. Now a 30-year-old woman in 1975, Ana finds herself in a hotel room in Seoul, plunging into the story of Luke and Number Four through the medium of Luke's wartime journal – and some help from a bell boy named Jesus. Let’s say a lot of help from Jesus.
In the Washington DC premiere of Among the Dead, the cast will feature Kyosin Kang, Julie M*, Chris Stinson* and Nahm Darr. Kyosin and Julie have Korean backgrounds. Kyosin's parents are both Korean. She was born in South Korea and came to the United States at the age of 2.
"Even though I grew up in the States, my parents put me in Korean school on weekends when I was younger, so that I could learn the language and culture," remembers the actress. "I know bits and pieces of my Korean heritage, but stepping into Among the Dead has really brought it home for me."
The production design team includes AJ Vester (set design), Navid Azeez (sound design), Amy MacDonald (costume design) and Hailey LaRoe (lighting design).
AMONG THE DEADby Hansol Jung
Directed by Richard Henrich
Featuring Kyosin Kang, Julie M*, Chris Stinson* and Nahm Darr*member of Actor's Equity Association
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