Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts (SFPA), led by Artistic Director Hyoung-Taek Limb, makes its debut at New York’s famed La MaMa Experimental Theater January 7 to 24, 2010 with “Medea and its Double,” which interprets Euripides’ Medea as two characters with different mentalities, torn between two minds as a mother and a lover. The work won the Best Director award at the 2007 Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater.
The piece is based on the play by Euripides and has been adapted and directed by Hyoung-Taek Limb. It will be performed in Korean with English subtitles (which are hardly necessary, because the narrative is easily understood by all audiences.) There are six actors and two singers, all Korean.
Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts calls itself an institution “where the spirits of lovers, lunatics and poets encounter.” It primarily adapts classical western theater for Korean and foreign audiences. This production creates a new style by combining not only Korean voices and martial arts, but also techniques of the Beijing Opera and Indian Odissi tradition with classic theater. The performance utilizes daily sounds and voice work derived from the Korean traditional Korean one-person opera ‘pansori’ and traditional folk song.
SFPA was founded as ‘Seoul Acting Lab’ in March of 2000 to train actors. Artistic Director Hyoung-Taek Limb trains performers based on the essence of performing arts, so called “physical contact” derived from Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints, Grotowski, Yoga, and Korean Traditional Mask Dance. He re-interprets classical works of art and develops training methods that are best suited for Korean emotions and sentiments. SFPA also offers workshops that focus on cultural exchange between Eastern and Western performing arts.
“Medea and its Double” debuted in Sinaia, Romania in July, 2006 and has been performed at Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theater (2007, winner: Best Directing award), Chennai, India (2009), Santiago, Chile (2009) and three times in Korea, at Miryang Summer Performing Arts Festival (2007), ArKo Arts Theater (2008) and Seoul Performing Arts Festival (2009).
Dmitru Corneilu (Romania), Chairman of UNESCO (2007), wrote that the show was an “amazing orchestration of traditional and contemporary voices of actors.” Daily News (Egypt) wrote, “Director Hyoung-Taek Limb brilliantly succeeds in making Korean culture the perfect home for Greek tragedy. The sheer power of an inventive theater director’s singular vision can transcend any barrier chained to the world’s oldest form of entertainment.”
Hyoung-Taek Limb was born in Seoul, Korea and began his training while in college, focusing on how to combine Western and Asian theater disciplines. With the goal of further exploration, he moved to New York and continued his work under the guidance of Andrei Serban and Anne Bogart at Columbia University, where he earned an MFA in Directing. He also assisted Andrei Serban for his La MaMa production of “Love, the Greatest Enchantment” and “La Dispute.”
Limb worked as a movement instructor at Schauspielhaus in Bochum, Germany and then founded a NYC theatre company, LITE (Laboratory for international Theatre Exchange, Inc.), with actors and directors mostly from Columbia University in 1994. Moving back to Seoul in 2000, Limb directed “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which received national recognition in Korea for its unique combination of traditional and modern, as well as Eastern and Western aesthetics. Limb is also a professor at Seoul Institute of the Arts. His other notable productions include “Slowness” by Milan Kundera (2003), “Three Sisters-Lost In Time” (NYC, Connnelly Theater, 2004) and “The Cherry Orchard-Comedy Nostalgia” (2007) and “New Birds” (2009). For 2010, he is preparing a new adaptation of “The Idiot” by Dostoevsky.
The two Medeas are played by Kyoung Lee and See-yeon Koo. The cast also includes Do-yup Lee (as Jason), Kyu-hwa Choi (as Aigeus/Tutor/Clown), Da-il Lee (as Creon/Clown), Su-yeon Lee (as Nanny/Clown) and two singers, Min-jung Kim and Yeon-ju Cho.
The show will be performed January 7 to 24, 2010 in the First Floor Theater at La MaMa E.T.C., 74A East Fourth Street, between Second Avenue and Bowery, in Manhattan’s East Village. Show times are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00 PM and Sundays at 2:30 PM. The running time is one hour and five minutes. Tickets are $18 general admission and are available through the box office at (212) 475-7710 or online at www.lamama.org.