By Chung Ah-young
Veteran film and television actors and actresses are returning to the theater this spring.
Their move is expected to galvanize the theater scene, which is currently drawing smaller audiences.
For a long time, theaters have been losing a number of veteran actors and actresses to films and TV dramas, while only a handful of theater-enthusiasts have kept the theater scene afloat.
The trend might boost the popularity of theater in the short term. But some critics said that the casting of stars in plays is following a trend similar to musicals and films, which rely heavily on the names of stars rather than on the work of writers and directors.
At the forefront of the move to theater is prominent actor Cho Jae-hyun
, who has been exceptionally successful in both theater and film.
He is starring in "Kyungsugi, Kyungsugi's Father", directed by veteran playwright and director Park Keun-hyung, which will continue until March 25.
His most recent stage performance comes three years after his "Equus" appearance, and most tickets have already sold out.
Actor Jo Min-ki
, who is a strong presence in major TV dramas, will act in legendary Russian playwright Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull", directed by acclaimed Russian director Kama Ginkas.
Jo plays the part of Boris Trigorin, the author in the play. To land the role, Cho had to audition more than six times.
Jo starred in Chekhov's play three years ago. The play will be staged at LG Arts Center on March 15-25.
After a seven-year absence from theater, actor Choi Min-sik
will star in "The Pillowman" by British veteran playwright Martin McDonagh, which will be directed by veteran director Park Keun-hyung.
Choi is renowned for performances in the hit films "Old Boy
" and "Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
" directed by Park Chan-wook
Choi will play a brilliant but downcast author who is incriminated in heinous murders that mirror stories from his novels.
For all its darkness of plot and imagery, "The Pillowman" won the Olivier Award in London for best new play in 2003. It grabbed the Tony Awards after going to Broadway in 2004.
The play will be put on stage at LG Arts Center on May 1-20.
Not only actors, but also actresses are joining in the migration. High-profile actress Kim Hye-ja
, who starred in "Doubt" last year, will give an encore performance at the Hakjon Blue Theater from March 23-April 1.
Her appearance in "Doubt" was five years after her role in "Shirley Valentine".
Prominent actress Go Doo-shim
, whose image has become inseparable from that of a devoted mother after her many major roles playing a mother, will perform in "Mother" (Chinjong Omma), which will open on April 12.
It will be seven years after she starred in the monologue "I, I'm a Woman" in 2000.