Posted : 2017-10-31 17:27
Updated : 2017-10-31 17:45

'L'Appartement' questions different ways to love

A scene from the play "L'Appartement" directed by Koh Sun-woong / Courtesy of LG Arts Center

By Kwon Mee-yoo

Director Koh Sun-woong brings ironic and mysterious sides of love to the stage in a new play "L'Appartement" staged at the LG Arts Center in southern Seoul.

Based on the 1996 French film of the same name starring Vincent Cassel and Monica Bellucci, "L'Appartement" tells the tale of a tangled web of love, but in a stylish way unique to Koh.

The film was made over 20 years ago, but director Koh discovered the message that still resonates from it ― love. Koh was fascinated by the movie and asked around to meet the film's director Gilles Mimouni in person to request permission to adapt the film into a play.

"The feelings and sensitivity of love still remain the same and I think the tale of love is what we still need today," Koh said.

The complex plot centers on Max, who is engaged to Muriel, but traces his lost love Lisa in his visit to Paris. Alice is Lisa's friend but she has had a crush on Max for a long time. She styles herself similar to Lisa and throws Max into confusion by staying in Lisa's apartment.

Unlike the film which begins with Max choosing a ring for his fiance Muriel and uses flashbacks to unravel what happened in the past with Alice, Lisa and Max, the play is arranged in chronological order. However, the stage adaptation deftly uses its advantage of dividing the stage to show different things happening at the same time.

Kim So-jin, left, as Alice and Kim Joo-won as Lisa in the play "L'Appartement" / Courtesy of LG Arts Center

In the film, the irresistibly attractive Lisa is portrayed by the heavenly beauty Bellucci. Director Koh chose ballet dancer Kim Joo-won to dance the charms of Lisa.

While an experienced dancer, this is Kim's debut as an actress. However, she has a knack of expressing emotions through her body and her portrayal of Lisa is alluring beyond expectations, presenting how a woman falls in love through elegant movements.

Actress Kim So-jin, who recently won the Best Supporting Actress at the 54th Daejong Film Awards for her role of prosecutor Ahn Hee-yeon in "The King," plays the role of hard-going Alice.

In the beginning, Alice is the odd one out wearing thick glasses, but her love and obsession for Max transforms the ingenue into a different person. Though her face might be unrevealing, there are mixed and complicated feelings and thoughts bursting inside Alice and Kim So-jin embraces all those emotions and leads the plot in a compelling way.

Screen actor Oh Ji-ho challenges the stage for the first time in "L'Appartement" and portrays the handsome yet indecisive Max.

The set design is rather minimalistic, in contrast to the involved plot. A table, a bench, a bed, a streetlamp and an imposing red door are all the set pieces on the revolving stage, which transforms from a park to an apartment complex and from a cafe to an airport. Four up-and-down screens show images of background, objects or faces of the characters, adding modern elements to the play.

The play runs through Nov.5. Tickets cost from 30,000 to 70,000 won. For more information, visit or call 02-2005-0114."

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