The Hamlet of Your Life
Kim Hee-won Reporter  |
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승인 2004.09.01  00:00:00
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"HONEY, IT was a great play. Although you were not the main lead, we were happy to see a great play in the front seats." A woman is cheering up her husband in the waiting room after the play Hamlet. Beside her are two children and a helpless looking actor. "Well, it sure was a good play... I say we go out for dinner!" says the actor with a despairing smile. The young boy cries out disappointingly, "Dad! I wanted to see you play Hamlet..." As these words spread out through the air, the actor's eyes begin to fill with tears and he shouts out, "Then I will show you my Hamlet, my very own Hamlet! Come with me." The actor's family are brought up to the dark stage and when the lights are turned up, they no longer see their father or husband, but a young trapping Hamlet.


Telling the story of their own

   A job of an actor has always reflected the lives of people. As many jobs have changed with the flow of time, this particular job never changed from giving happiness and joy to the audience. However, in Third Rate Actor the performers reflect on themselves instead of other people. The play Third Rate Actor is a story of an actor who is passionate about his job. The play is like an autobiography because the performers tell the audience about their own happiness and sadness through an actor's life. Third Rate Actor was first performed last March. The response was so good that the team decided to do an encore. This encore performance is held from July 30 to Sept. 30 in Valentine Theater, Daehak-ro.

A story of an actor

   Third Rate Actor is a story of an actor named Lee Young-jin. From the moment he saw the play Hamlet, he wishes to take the leading part. He has acted for 30 years. However, he was never given a big role and always was a minor. Finally, Lee has the opportunity to play Hamlet and tells his family filled with joy. Yet considering the audience value the director decides to take movie star Sang-il, a friend of Young-jin's, as Hamlet instead. On the last day of the performance Young-jin is asked to play Hamlet since Sang-il cannot come due to his tough schedule. Young-jin brightens up and practices his lines. However, Sang-il shows up and Young-jin once again loses his part. Meanwhile, Young-jin's family come to see their father as Hamlet but are disappointed as he does not appear as Hamlet. "Dad, I wanted to see you as Hamlet, the Hamlet that you always dreamt of!" With these words of his son, Young-jin performs a monologue just for his family.

What makes a full play

   The play shows the hardship of being an actor. The conflict and despair an actor actually suffers are expressed by the acting of the main actor. Thus, the role of the main actor in this play is very important and the actor himself gives a good performance. However, there are other essentials that make this play even more worth seeing. Although the performance is mainly about one actor, the play does not forget the importance of supporters around him. As supporters, they each have unique characters. A sweet wife always smiling to her husband, a young eager actress who reminds Young-jin of his old times, a successful friend Sang-il, and a senior actor are the examples. Most of all, the main supporters are his family. They have seen the actor from a long time ago. Fellow actors who understand his way of acting give strength to him. A senior gives him advice about being a real actor and a junior respects his acting and asks for advice and encour-agement, which gives him confidence. These characters make the play more lively in spite of the serious topic. Through the story of the main character and supporting characters, the audience can fully see the various lives of the actors. A colorful drama is achieved from a play that could have been monotonous.

Obvious situations and events

   Original storyline and situations would have made the play more vivid along with various characters that lit up the stage. Although the play makes a deep impression on the audience, it lacks freshness and creativity. The main character's role is no different from a typical soap opera act. He is an actor who was not acknowledged for 30 years and a father lacking in ability. Moreover, his successful friend captures the role of his dreams. These items might show the reality of the acting business but the audience could get tired of the stereotypical issue that tries to evoke their sympathy. The contents of the play are already known enough to the audience. However, the play goes on with the obvious facts. Although the plot could make tear drops fall, it does not give the audience much to think about. Thus, the play needs more substantial stories to tell.

Stage of sympathy

   In spite of its serious topic the play is filled with humorous wit that makes the audience cry and laugh at the same time. People identify with the actor and form tear drops when the actor cries, but soon burst out with laughter when he rolls his eyes and makes comical comments. However, at one moment, the sound of laughter fades and there is not a single breath. The main actor throws out every line in Hamlet on stage, exerting himself to the utmost. His body is soaked with sweat and the whole audience is astonished at the impassioned performance. Third Rate Actor is a play made for actors, by actors. The audience can experience mixed emotions along with the actors and during the whole two hours they share sympathy. This is possible because the audience can see the living spirit inside the actors. They see no difference between the actors and themselves since they are both living human beings who try to accomplish the goal of their lives. Through the story of a truly human actor, the play reminds the audience of the most important thing that they have forgotten; the passion they have inside.

Third Rate Actor
Valentine Theater
2004/ 7/ 30 ~ 2004/ 9/ 30
02 - 3647 - 5555







Chy Il-hwa
Actor of
Third Rate Actor
Q: It must have been a special experience to play a character who does the same thing you do. What did you think of the character?
There is nothing special about actor Lee Young-jin. He represents all stage actors. 99% of us actors go through the same despair and happiness. Maybe some circumstances could be different but, basically we are in the same process.


Kim Soon-young
Director of Third Rate Actor
Q: How did you decide to direct a play about actors?
I wanted to make a play about people with jobs that never change. As society changes many jobs tend to change their colors but some jobs still stay the same. Among many jobs, I chose actor because I once was an actor.
Q: It is true that many audiences go for more well known shows and this effects the acting business. Do you have any comments for the viewers?
People are free to go to any play they want to see. It is their choice and no one should criticize it. However, I wish them to have appreciative eyes. Some people brag about what plays they have seen, but that is not all. An eye that can distinguish good acting and bad acting or the quality of the play is needed. As the level of our viewers goes up, the acting business will no longer be devastated.


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