"I am carrying a deep scar due to people's prejudice against nude performance", says Choi Jae-kyeong
, the main actress in the national sensation, "Professor and His Female Student".
Choi disappeared from the stage of the much-talked-about play since Dec. 23 when a member of the audience, a man in his 40s, was found to be secretly filming the play where she performed nude. Before the play, which includes an enacted sex scene, all audience members were required to sign a pledge not to film or take a photo of the play. It was seldom abided.
In conservative Korea where a nude performance is a foreign territory, the play gathered a storm of interest from people. Unfortunately, many of them are less tuned to the artistic aspect of the play, but keener to satisfy their sexual curiosity by watching the rare nude performance by the 24-year-old Choi.
"The script was written by a philosophy professor and when I read it, I knew instantly that it fit me right", she said in an interview with Donga Ilbo.
"Many audience members approached the play as portraying an immoral relationship. I didn't", she said.
Despite her good intentions, news reports said some audience members specifically came to see the play to seek sexual arousal. That made her nude acting even more challenging.
As the media began to sensationalize it, she was getting increasing pressures from the people who know here, including friends and family members, who lay disparaging moral judgment on her. Many of them also turned a cold shoulder on her after they found out what she was doing.
She also received many phone calls and text messages, telling her to quit her participation in the play. Even a movie director who helped her to enter the acting scene, reprimanded her "to stop it immediately". Her boyfriend also left her.
The whole thing was too much for her to bear. In December, she withdrew from people and acting. Since then, she has turned off her mobile phone and seldom stepped out of her home.
It has been two months. Donga Ilbo article said she is slowly recovering now. "I will definitely return to the play one day. But I will stay away from a nude play for the time being", she was quoted as saying.
After mustering enough courage, she is thinking about turning her mobile phone on again. "I hope my boyfriend sees this interview and gives me a call. I really love him", she said.