Here’s a break from the usual Korean Drama on television.
Lloyd Suh’s “American Hwanggap” is having its first staging in Asia at the CCP Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino.
“American Hwanggap” is a drama about the relationships within a Korean family in Texas that is suddenly put to the test when a long-lost father returns to celebrate his 60th birthday or hwanggap.
The hwanggap is an important milestone in Koreans life as it marks the completion of a life cycle (as represented by the zodiac) and thus also sets the stage for a rebirth.
Min Suk Chun is a father who abandoned his family in America 15 years ago to return to Korea. When he returns, it disturbs what appears to be the new life that his ex-wife and grown children have created for themselves.
In a way, the play represents the current state of divided Korea through a divided family. Just like how Koreans have different views regarding reunification, each of the family members in the play show different perspectives and emotions when it comes to reuniting with the returning father – especially considering that they have grown independent and lived without him throughout these years.
The drama may be serious at heart because of its topic and premise but the light and sappy moments add a dark comedic touch that is sure to resonate with local audiences. It veers away from the usual melodramatic family squabble by delicately using humor to tackle sensitive themes. Lines like, “You weren’t there for either one of my weddings…but I did get the toaster you sent after my first divorce.” will surely hit the Filipino’s hearts and funny bones.
Theater enthusiasts will also enjoy both the original English version and a Tagalog staging as translated by Joi Barrios. The English ensemble is led Bembol Roco and Celeste Legaspi while the Filipino cast features Mario O’Hara and Gina Pareno among others. With such highly respected thespians at the forefront, this is definitely one show that cannot be missed.
The play continues run on Sept. 17-19, 24-26 and Oct. 1-3. For ticket inquiries and more details, contact 832-1125 local 1620.
Thanks to the Cultural Center of the Philippines for the photo.