Jeong Hee Park is a dramatist and theatre director in Korea. Yet she is regarded one of the influential contemporary directors in Korea, there’s only few academic research on her. This is said to be because her work is still in progress and Korean researchers tend to overlook contemporary directors who are still in the process of developing their directorial styles.
She is referred as a ‘prominent female director and brilliant experimental dramatist.’ Ever since her official debut production through ‘the Maids’ by Jean Genet, Park’s aesthetic works have received high praise from critics and her audience.
Like Peter Brook, she seeks to experiment with stage, audience and actors. Having studied in Germany for years, Park has been strongly influenced by Germany’s deconstructionism and post modernism. Her attempts to deconstruct and integrate a story is reflected on her play, especially her debut and most popular play, ‘The Maids’. She is strongly political and wants to produce western plays with in Korean context, therefore, she retells such western play by deciding what a core theme can be and recreating the play based on the theme.
As a consequence, the Maids of Park takes place in a bathtub filled with water, meaning that the actors are acting in water. Water has become a symbolistic element here, which represents femininity and mirror. Actors drown in water emphasizes the brutal and psychopathic characteristics of the two characters. Yet the play still contains original meaning. In the end, Solange reaches climax and stomps on the floor. This ritualistic scene connects Parks’ ‘The Maids’ with Jean Genet’s The Maids.
Her ideogram has always been ‘wind’ ever since she debuted. As if wind or breeze causes a subtle or big turbulence, she aspires her play to draw attention to social issues and the reality we’re in. So the name of her theatre company also has ‘wind’ in its meaning.
“Theatre is always a self-destructive act, and it is always written on the wind’”
Also as a founder of theatre company ‘Landscape’, she pursues parallel relationship with actors. Because of the ‘Human-orientedness’, her production is often political, social, or even existential. “Take a monster out of your mind.” was her direction towards the actors.
YEONG NYEO LEE
- story about a Korean prostitute named ‘Yeong Nyeo Lee’