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Title:The modern uses of tradition in contemporary Korean theatre: A critical analysis from an intercultural perspective
Author(s):Kim, Ah-Jeong
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Graves, Robert B.
Department / Program:Theatre
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Anthropology, Cultural
Abstract:Modern Korean theatre was influenced in the early twentieth century by Western culture. From 1910 until the late 1960s, Korean theatre practitioners strove to build a modern theatre based on an European model, while virtually discarding their indigenous performing art traditions. However, since the 1960s, a small group of theatre practitioners has begun a movement to revive the native performing tradition by incorporating traditional elements into Western-style theatre productions. Such has resulted in the emergence of a new intercultural theatre which fuses native Korean and Western theatres.
This study examines the phenomenon of the revival of tradition as seen in contemporary Korean theatre from an intercultural perspective. To illuminate the diverse and complicated modes in which native tradition reappears in modern theatre, three important theatricians, Huh Kyu, Oh Tae-Suk, and Sim Woo-Sung were chosen for close analysis. The three theatre artists are not only leaders of the Korean theatre but also demonstrate different styles, views and methods of utilizing tradition. Thus, the body of this dissertation is devoted to investigating each of the three theatre artists' intercultural theatre works.
Prior to taking up the main subject, it was necessary to conduct some preliminary investigation. The contention of this dissertation is that the shinguk (literally, "new theatre," a term for modern Korean theatre) movement failed to transplant Western theatre to Korea and was in part responsible for bringing the resurgence of the tradition movement to contemporary Korean theatre. To prove this statement, the first portion of the dissertation scrutinizes the history of shinguk, the period from the early 1910s until the 1960s. Since this period includes such traumatic historical incidents as Japanese annexation (1910-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), socio-political, as well as economic, circumstances emerge as the main factors which deterred the development of modern theatre.
In addition, a separate chapter deals with indigenous Korean theatre. This chapter will provide readers with a basic reference knowledge to facilitate an understanding of what has been revived in the contemporary theatre. Included here is a brief survey of the history, philosophy, dramatic structure, and the present status of four major traditional performing arts, respectively; p'ansori (one-man operetta), t'al ch'um (mask-dance drama), kkoktukaksi norum (puppet theatre) and ch'angguk (music drama).
The conclusion sums up the use of tradition in modern theatrical endeavors within the framework of interculturalism. In an attempt to give a fair assessment of this Korean intercultural theatre, some critical responses from both inside and outside theatre are also discussed. Finally, the appendix contains a recent English translation of a contemporary Korean drama, Bujayuch'in (There Should be Intimacy Between Father and Son) by the intercultural director and playwright Oh Tae-Suk.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Kim, Ah-Jeong
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9624388
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9624388

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