North Texas Daily

Professor to direct adapted play in South Korea

Professor to direct adapted play in South Korea

Professor to direct adapted play in South Korea
October 15
23:54 2014

Heamiy Park / Intern Writer

UNT has its own theater, but that isn’t the venue that one teacher had in mind. Associate acting and directing professor Marjorie Hayes will instead direct her next production, Killer Joe, in South Korea.

Killer Joe, written by Tracy Letts, is about a flawed Dallas trailer park family. A film adaptation starring Matthew McConaughey was released in 2011. The play has never been performed in Korea before. Hayes will travel across the Pacific in December and the production will premiere in January.

Hayes will direct the cross-cultural play for six weeks during her stay in South Korea.

Hayes said she believes that the Korean audience will be able to resonate with it because the theme is a cautionary tale of greed.

“I think the whole art of acting is to give voice to people in cultures and stories that are not always our own,” Hayes said. “If we only do what we knew, we’d all do contemporary plays.”

Hayes was invited by former student Yonghwa Lee, who graduated in 1997 with a master’s degree. He is a professor at Chung Cheong University and a professional director in Seoul.

Lee is a general manager at a theatre company called Ka Byun and the associate director of the play. He kept in touch with Hayes throughout the years. Lee and Hayes have discussed directing a play together since Lee was close to graduating UNT. He said he has been continuously looking for an opportunity until he finally came across this play.

“I have multiple reasons why I chose Killer Joe,” Lee said. “Tracy Letts’ work has never been performed in Korea. The background is in Dallas, and most importantly, I believe this play has undefined beauty of its own compared to any other plays.”

Lee is currently working to translate the play. The translation will be close to the original script, but Lee said he plans on changing some parts to add some Korean feelings or culture to it.

English senior adn Korean-American student Sylvia Yi said she thinks the idea of the collaboration is great and that the universal theme of greed will be even more relatable.

“As it stands, the storyline itself is already reminiscent of Korean dramas which are famous for their story twists and dramatic scenarios,” Yi said. “Adapting plays is nothing new, but perhaps someday the U.S. will find itself adapting more plays from countries other than Western culture instead of the other way around.”

Featured Image: Marjorie Hayes, Associate Professor of Acting and Directing and Managing Director of Theatre Production

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