The Korea Herald


[Eye Plus] Changeuk, to catch modern audiences' psyche

By Lim Jae-seong

Published : Feb. 24, 2023 - 09:00

    • Link copied

“’Geumeo’ is a magic fish guiding the way to find a tree which grants wishes in changgeuk ‘Tree, Fish, Moon,’” actor Kim Su-in explained his role.

“Changgeuk” refers to a traditional play form, in which many performers participate in the story, singing songs called “chang.” Kim simply calls the traditional art genre "Korean style opera or musicals."

In the play, Kim wears a costume that looks like colorful fish scales, with a flower-like lantern that shows vital power of the character on his forehead.

The National Changgeuk Company of Korea 2021 and 2022 performed “Tree, Fish, Moon,” a modern-style changgeuk inspired by a wide array of folktales including those from Korea’s Jeju Island and India.

“We make efforts to win over the hearts of contemporary audiences, trying diverse things, rather than repeating tradition as it was,” the 28-year-old actor said.

“Tree, Fish, Moon is a good example of those tries. I like the efforts to introduce various colors into tradition, not sticking to the original form,” Kim added.

He also finds reason for a recent increase in fandom for changgeuk from them.

“Those who work in fine arts are easily caught up in what they have done. But efforts to expand the art’s sphere excite both performers and audience.”

He says the traditional Korean songs became inseparable from his life, hoping to be with the vibrantly changing genre to reflect modern people’s lives.

“The songs are like food for me, that I cannot live without. I will keep trying to be a better chang performer.” Kim said.

Photos by Park Hae-mook

Written by Park Hae-mook, Lim Jae-seong