Contemporary Korean Theater: Beyond Tradition and Modernization

(Contemporary Korean Arts #12)


Establishment of Korean Theater’s Identity
Korean Theater from the 1970s up to the Present

The 1970s in Korea saw the establishment of Korean theater’s identity and development of contemporary characteristics in terms of theatrical aesthetics. This book examines Korean theater from the 1970s up to the present. The focus of this volume attempts to examine original Korean plays written and staged by Koreans, as opposed to translated works. This book illustrates the narrative of contemporary Korean theater based on each decade from the 1970s to 2000s.

Korean theater prior to the 1970s is outlined in chapter one. Real theater culture in the Western sense began in Korea towards the end of the 19th century.  Korean theater up until the 1960s largely revolved around the imports and imitation of modern plays from the West. Chapter two focuses on Korean theater during the 1970s. The 1970s were a period featuring the recovery of theatrical identity and enthusiasm for experimental styles. Modernization of tradition is a recurring theme for contemporary theater in Korea during that decade. Chapter three deals with the 1980s Korean theaters as a symbol of political resistance which was engulfed in the anti-dictatorship movement. Chapter four introduces Korean theater of the 1990s which was embroiled in the waves of postmodernism: the sense of liberation in sensual images and deconstructive wit, body and object. Chapter five is about the plays that returned to the fundamentals of language and text emerged on the stage to depict daily life in the smallest details.

As Korean original theaters replaced translations since 1970s, the major factors behind this change in trend are as follows: increased interest in unfair social realities and the active expression of the desire to portray the lives of the general public. Although the theatrical scene in Korea is experiencing problems with its bipolarization and the attenuation of small-scale original theater produced by private theater groups, Korean theater culture will play a role in overcoming such problems and making creative outlets.

168 pp.
LC# 2014950080
Softcover 15 x 22.5 cm
ISBN-13: 9781565913431
ISBN-10: 1565913434