By Chung Ah-young
A screen-to-stage adaptation of Mike Nichol's 1967 film "The Graduate" will debut in Seoul this month, just in time for graduation season.
The play, written by veteran British playwright Terry Johnson, has been regarded as a theater blockbuster since its premiere on the West End in 2000 and on Broadway in 2002.
The story is based on a love affair between a recent college graduate, Benjamin Braddock, played by Dustin Hoffman in the film version, and Mrs. Robinson, the fiery seductive housewife of his father's business partner_ though Benjamin eventually finds himself falling in love with Mrs. Robinson's teenage daughter, Elaine.
The story explores the futility of materialism as represented by Mrs. Robinson.
Some scenes from the film have become deeply embedded in the popular consciousness even 40 years after the film was released and have been widely parodied in many other works.
The adaptation for the Korean stage, directed by Kim Jong-sok, is intended to remain true to the original storyline, but at the same time puts more emphasis on each character.
The audience can relish in the folk sounds of rock-duo Simon and Garfunkel, who recorded the
soundtrack for the orginial film, resulting in the hit songs, "Mrs. Robinson" and "Sound of Silence", which rose to the top of the charts in 1968.
Veteran actress Kim Ji-sook
, 50, who is returning to the stage one year after starring in the drama "Rosel" in 2005, will take up the title role as Mrs. Robinson.
She will focus on playing the role with a more sophisticated style than seen in the original production.
Kim is sparing no efforts in commiting herself to the role. For the first time in her career, she will partially undress as she tries to woo Benjamin with his youthful hunger.
Song Chang-ui, who has stared on both the stage and screen in such works as "Jesus Christ Super Star", "West Side Story", and "Hedwig",will debut in the play as Benjamin.
Actress Chon Kyong-soo will play as the soul-searching Elaine, who is seeking her identity amid the two polarizing personalities of Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson.
The promoters hope the play will attract soon-to-be graduates as February is the month graduatation ceremonies are usuaaly held.
"The Graduate" is scheduled to open on Feb. 3 and to run until Feb. 25 at the Arko Arts Center in Taehangno, Seoul.
No one under the age of 19 will be allowed into the play.
Tickets cost from 30,000 to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3485-8700.