CultureReview
Let's Get "Lunatic "!
Lim Ga-eul Reporter  |  autumn86@yonsei.ac.kr
폰트키우기 폰트줄이기 프린트하기 메일보내기 신고하기
승인 2005.03.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

   

 

A WOMAN cursing the world at the top of her lungs; an elder man crying for his son; a young man running after another pleading, "Kiss me! Please!" while the other shouts "I am not insane!" It is literally a mad house. Suddenly, all of this is replaced by merry laughter. This mad house, is a unique mental hospital, Lunatic where everything is solved by sharing, singing and dancing. Be ready to become seriously addicted to its joyous atmosphere.

 

An original production

Holic Musical: Lunatic, or Lunatic for short, is an original jazz musical. Directed by comedian Baek Jae-hyun, it was first performed in January 2004.
Although several critics predicted that it would merely be a funny but meaningless show, the final result is full of surprises. It has even been evaluated as a production that should serve as a model for upcoming original musicals. This show takes the public into the theatrical world of madness with the help of the doctor and four of her patients.

Welcome to CrazyLand

In a small mental hospital, the doctor brings in a new patient and introduces him to three others, Na Jae-bi (I'm a playboy), Go Dok-he (I'm lonely) and Mu Dae-po (Bomb). The new comer, Jung Sang-in (normal man) repeatedly claims that he is normal. Nevertheless, the doctor continues with her therapy, the "collective presentation" through which everybody shares his or her story. One by one the patients confess the circumstances that brought them here. Na Jae-bi tasted the bitter loss of a true love, while Go Dok-he suffered from severe material obsession. As for Mu Dae-po, he paid the price for being an overly laissez-faire father in the matter of sex. The doctor also joins-in by explaining her vocation.
Jung Sang-in, who had even tried to escape from the asylum, finally tells his story. It turns out to be so shocking that the doctor calls an end to the session. Jung Sang-in cries out that, like everybody else, it is life that made him what he is. With this, the show seems to have reached its end. However, an unexpected twist awaits, with the doctor concluding: "Look around you and ask yourself this: are you an insane person wearing the mask of a normal man, or are you crazy but well enough to know how to truly enjoy life as a lunatic!"

More than a musical

Lunatic is not only a musical but also a live jazz band performance. Unlike most musicals, a real band accompanies the show with songs, background music and sound effects. Although it is a small band with only three or four musicians, it gives a performance worthy of other jazz bands. The band members are sometimes invited to join in the story, which gives the feeling of one big family. This intimacy extends to the public. Actors often talk to the audience while requesting an answer. For example, at one point, the doctor asks one from the audience to come up and talk about his or her own experience. The audience feels like it is takes part in completing the story with interactions like these.
Furthermore, the musical never forgets to maintain a touch of humor. Whether the joke is transmitted in body language (Go Dok-he's unique and comic dance for instance) or by witty phrases, the public can always have a laugh. The performers add more fun to the overall production by unpredictably ad-libbing their lines. Every  performance is a new one.

Limits of a low-budget work

Lunatic is an original creative work realized with a limited budget. Although Lunatic is well made, one cannot deny the fact that the conditions are reflected in the quality of this stage production. For example, when presenting the patients, a short animation is projected. This short movie contains important information, but the quality of the screen image is not clear enough.
The stage is also quite small for a two-hour-long show that requires actors to frequently change places. Therefore, at every scene change, the stage is filled with cast and crew rearranging the stage, while the actors continue saying their lines. Even though one tries to focus on the main actors, the noise made by the cast moving items on stage keeps distracting people.

Are we sane?

"Crazy is not so crazy after all!" This is the theme song everybody sings at the end of the show. Lunatic is the story of four extreme social cases. However, when one looks above the exterior, one will soon realize that, indeed, they do not look that crazy after all. Everyone has once felt oneself going mad due to the same reasons the characters have, only in lesser degrees. Insanity is not such a distant subject. It is a feeling people feel in everyday life. Then what is sanity? Lunatic shows that it is only a state of mind. In today's crazy society, the key to sanity is to learn to live life in happiness

Interview

   

Baek Jae-hyun
Director of Lunatic

Q: What is Lunatic? Can you tell us about its origin, its meaning and its characters?

A: Recently, the world is getting hard to live in. The line between normal and abnormal is becoming thin. I wanted to create a show to make people realize that sanity depends on how people view life. Living the hard way is the abnormal way. Taking it happily and comfortably is the sane way.
A:    The characters are based on the play "The Good Doctor" by Niel Simon. We modified them, using money, love and sex to reflect our society.
A:    Lunatic basically means crazy. However it has a much softer and more beautiful image, maybe because of Luna, which means moon. That is why I named it "Lunatic" instead of saying "crazy", although it is not a well-known term.
A:    A director should have a philosophy of his own. Through this musical and its many twists, I wanted to transmit my philosophy and make them accept it as well as agree with it.

Q: What moral do you wish the public to obtain through the musical?

A: I would prefer to let people to realize that concept on their own, rather than tell it myself. A lot of people who have watched it tell me that the show actually gives a cultural shock. I am just thankful they feel that way. When you watch the show several times, you will continue discovering new sides of it. At first, you can only see the peak of the mountain. Then, you get to see a hill and eventually the whole mountain.

Holic Musical : Lunatic
Art Hall Star City
2004/11/19 ~ Open run
02-743-4001

 

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