a FAIRYTALE for CHILDISH GROWNUPS: Sunhee Kim talks about the journey in -ING

By , October 20, 2009 5:20 pm

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Can you describe -ING in a nutshell for our audiences? What was your inspiration for the work?
A fairytale for childish grownups! I was interested in mixing different fantasies, personal or otherwise, and blurring the line between dream and reality. I was also inspired by some Asian animations, especially Japanese ones, as well as some works of contemporary artists such as Jeannie Lynn Paske, Leontine Greenberg, and Robert and Shana Parkeharrison.
I find the nature of fairytales interesting- not only for all fantastic adventures and fantasies but also for the fact that they are found in every culture. Every child grows up with at least one or two favourite tale(s) of their own, and some supposedly grown-ups (like myself) still enjoy them. It is not much about whether it is real or not, or whether it “makes sense” or not – for me, it is rather about that some of us still find ourselves very much engaged (and sometimes indulging) in those fantasies and dreams in every corner of our reality.

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What is the journey in –ING?
Three figures in –ING are searching for something… there is a strong sense of being lost, whether it is being lost on a journey or lost in their lives, or lost on the journey of their lives. There is also a sense of longing. Although not knowing what they are longing for, they are certainly sensing the absence of it. So they begin their quest; they search for it, and when the searching gets hard, they dream of finding it fantasizing what it would be like when they found it.
It’s like how in our everyday lives, we are constantly striving for a “better” self and a “better” life… but what does all that “better” really mean to you?

What about your journey as a director in –ING?
It’s been fun! -ING is a devised work, so the main tool for the piece is improvisation. I created a script as a “framework” as our starting point – that was a new challenge for me because it’s my first time as playwright (if you can call what I wrote a text)! Anyway, I then asked the actors to share their personal stories and fantasies, and got more material from that.
To use an analogy, I tried to bring in the structure of a house with the script, and worked with the actors to fill it in.

Both you and Jeungsook Yoo (one of the co-founders of Theatre PÝUT and a performer in the play) are trained in different East Asian traditions of performance. Are there any particular processes that inform the creation of this work?
Both Jeungsook and I are interested in exploring Asian aesthetics, and have undergone training in yoga, taichi and kalarippayattu. Jeungsook also specializes in Dahnhak, a Korean form of meditation, so we’ll be bringing all these different Asian traditions into the rehearsal process for this work.

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Sunhee, the leader of the childish adults
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Sunhee Kim is a Korean performer and director. She received the BA with Honours in Drama (2004) and the MFA in Theatre Practice (2007) at the University of Exeter, UK. Her recent interest is examining the issues of “emotion” through the Korean Buddhist perspective in the context of theatre practice. She is currently doing her PhD research at the University of Exeter exploring the subject. Her recent practical works include: as a performer, 4.48 Psychosis (Sarah Kane), Happy Days (Samuel Beckett), Ill Seen Ill Said (adapted from the prose of Samuel Beckett); as a director and devisor, Alien and For Warmth (devised) and The Taxi Dribal (Jang, Jin).
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ING will run Tuesday to Sunday from 12-22 November 2009 at Studio 4 of The Theatre Practice (155 Waterloo Street Level 2 Stamford Art Centre). Pay as you wish, call 63372525 or email suhuai@practice.org.sg to register today! Limited seats available.

Tuesday- Saturday: 8pm
Saturday & Sunday:3pm

ING will also be performed in Shanghai and Shenzhen in December this year. To find out more, please write to us at jolim@practice.org.sg.

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