After four years of painstaking research and countless acting workshops, South Korean theatre director Yosup Bae will be heaving a sigh of relief on August 17. Bae’s theatre group Tuida (‘run’ in Korean), will be staging one of their biggest plays, Beyond Binary, in the city. Showcasing the experiences of the LGBT community, the play is to be performed in Korean, English and Tamil, and has a mix of Korean and Indian cast. “There will be subtitles, of course,” says Yosup with a smile. “But you don’t need them to understand what’s going on. You’ll get it,” he says. The director, whose last play, The Tale of Haruk, was well-received by our audience, talks about the the four-year-long journey and what to expect.
How did the collaboration come about? It was a specially commissioned play. The InKo Centre and AsiaNow offered us an Indo-Korean collaboration. We had a workshop with Adishakthi, the theatre group in Pondicherry, two years ago. And then a residence programme in Korea. We held auditions after that and went back and forth between Chennai and Seoul. And here we are now.
What does the play tell us about the LGBT community?
We did a lot of research. We spoke to many people from the LGBT community to try to understand their situation. This play is an attempt to portray their stories and, in the process, try to tear down that wall that says there has to be only two categories, a binary if you will, of man and woman. We hear the actors wrote their own scripts Yes. There are no fixed scripts. The play has six monologues woven into it, that tells us the story of six people from the sexual minority community. My actors spoke to more than 50 people and picked one person and their experiences to base their scripts on.
Tuida has already staged the play in Hwacheon and Seoul. How was it received?
Korea is a very conservative place. People pretend they are okay with it, but they aren’t. So it was mixed. It will be interesting to see how Chennai receives it.
At Sir Mutha Venkata Subba Rao auditorium, on August 17, at 7.30 pm. Details: 24361224