Asian Sweets to portray lives of social minorities
By Chung Ah-young
Korean-Japanese playwright Chong Wishing’s new play “Asian Sweets” will be staged for the first time in Korea.
The title comes from the name of a pudding sold in a convenience store in the play, which is nicely packaged but it is nothing more than a dessert which turns out to be empty and transient.
The play is dedicated to the late Korean-Japanese actress Kim Ku Mi-ja who died in 2004. It premiered in Japan and was on stage until recently receiving positive reviews.
As with his previous work “Yakiniku Dragon,” it portrays the daily life of a Korean family that operates a restaurant in the face of adversity in Kansai, Japan in the late 1960s. “Asian Sweets” will also shed light on the agonies of a Korean-Japanese family in a warm-hearted way mixed with Chong’s unique insights and interpretations.
The play is set in an old boutique in a small town that is under redevelopment in Japan.
A crippled woman in her 40s lives a vapid life while making wedding dresses and other women’s clothing. One day her mother, who left home for a new husband and brother, who also departed to chase his dream, return before Christmas.
Their lives begin to get awkward as the woman’s ex-boyfriend is married to another woman but still lives with her. Their lives are entangled and they hurt each other.
The characters in the play are all hurting but hide it and instead turn their pain into hilarious situations.
The play paradoxically criticizes the dismantling of family values and the fading meaning of love and at the same time captures the warm-hearted feelings toward humanity and observations of characters through laughter and sadness.
The play shows not only the anxiety and alienation of a Korean family living in Japan but also the human relations with a blend of humor and pathos through theatrical artistry.
Chong, a renowned playwright and screenwriter in the Japanese movie and theater industries, was born in Japan as a third-generation Japanese-resident Korean.
His life experience is reflected in many characters that appear in his works and the fortitude they show in their lives, smattered with laughter and collective memories of people.
The writer has depicted his adversity as a member of an alienated minority through his plays with sympathy and warmth. These factors makes audiences in both Korea and Japan easily empathize with his story.
The upcoming play is directed by Kim Je-hoon and translated by Lee Hye-jung. The piece will be performed from June 30 to July 14 at
Daehangno Art Theater and from July 20 to 31 at the Dansole Theater.
Tickets cost 35,000 won. For more information call 070-7556-4628.