|A scene from "Coffee and Soporific" / Courtesy of NTCK|
By Park Ji-won
The National Theater Company of Korea (NTCK) will showcase a new COVID-19-friendly form of tour-like multimedia play that invites its audience to move around outside of the theater, showcasing a VR performance about poet Yi Sang (1910-37), the 1930s and present.
The NTCK's new piece "Coffee and Soporific" by artist Seo Hyun-suk will be showcased alongside Seoullo 7017, a former overpass turned into a park near Seoul Station, as well as at the NTCK and in its main theater from Sept. 24 to Oct. 3.
Each participant, who is required to bring a mobile phone and earphones, will start a 50-minute journey at the beginning of Seoullo 7017 or near the headquarters of Shinsegae Department Store alone and be asked to listen to an audio file provided by the NTCK for about 20 minutes.
The audio file is a narration of background information about the era and Yi's famous poems which drew inspiration from Seoul. It explains the department store and other areas while guiding participants to pass by the actual facility and arrive at the theater in the end. At one point in the production, participants are also given a VR headset to watch a 20-minute video showing a performance related to the narration on Yi.
"We feel powerless due to the unexpected COVID-19 virus. Violence aggravates society, and tension and conflict both exist. I hope this show can give audiences a chance to overcome the frame of their suffocated daily lives through the experiences of Yi Sang who expanded his thoughts by accepting Western arts and science while living under Japanese colonial rule," artist Seo Hyun-Suk said in a press release.
The show, available only in Korean, will be run 168 sessions at 30 minute intervals. Reservations are required and can be made through the NTCK website.