I should have made prior reservations. When I arrived at the Arko Arts Theater almost one hour before this year’s last performance of HAN Tae-sook’s (한태숙) legendary “Lady Macbeth” would take place—one of the most widely analysed “intercultural” appropriations of Shakespeare in Korea—, all tickets were sold out.
Instead of resorting to a production of “그대를 속일지라도” (roughly translated: “Even if they betray you…”), a play by LEE Man-hui (이만희, more famous as a film director than as a playwright), I just sat down and took a rest in the nearby Maronnier Park.
There was a band contest going on. While some college students rocked the small stage under the tin roof and others played basketball, I learned vocabulary, wrote some dialogues, drank canned coffee and performed laughter (some students were filming foreigners smiling at baby videos taken from youtube, seemingly for some kind of festival…). Even the homework was fun—incidentally, we had to describe directions based on a map of Daehang-no, in whose heart I was just sitting. (“혜화역 2번출구로 나와서 쭉 가면 왼쪽에 마로니에 공원 나와요…”)
Two hours later, catching the last sun in front of the theatre, I saw people carrying large drums away. Then the shutters were taken down. The show was over. I turned around and took the subway home, where dinner was waiting.
— 20 June 2010 (日)