When stage play meets cinema: SAC unveils its first stage movie 'Story of Old Couple' - Korea Times
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When stage play meets cinema: SAC unveils its first stage movie 'Story of Old Couple'

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Cha Yoo-kyung, right, and Kim Myung-gon in a scene from the stage movie
Cha Yoo-kyung, right, and Kim Myung-gon in a scene from the stage movie "The Story of an Old Couple." / Courtesy of Seoul Arts Center

By Kwak Yeon-soo

In a pandemic-stricken world where live-streamed performances have become the norm, the Seoul Arts Center (SAC) has found a new way to deliver its theater performances to audiences not familiar with its work.

As part of its "SAC on Screen" project, which aims to record its plays and other theatrical productions for screening in cinemas, the arts center has unveiled its first "stage movie" titled "The Story of an Old Couple."

It follows a couple in their 60s falling in love. Mischievous Park Dong-man (played by Kim Myung-gon) visits foul-mouthed Lee Jum-soon (Cha Yoo-kyung), to rent a room in her home. Park, who lost his wife two decades ago, tries to win the heart of Lee, who lost her husband 30 years ago and raised three daughters on her own, and the two eventually fall in love.

SAC CEO Yoo In-taek said the latest move to expand its theater program and use digital technology to engage audiences is intended to build interest in theater performances and increase profit.

"Theater funding and financial assistance are scarce because stage plays don't make much money," Yoo said during a press event at Yongsan CGV in Seoul, Thursday. "I think it's about time to experiment and see if a stage movie can become an attractive investment and serve as a touchstone to promote SAC's creative works to larger audiences."

"I thought it would be immersive from the audience's point of view if the stage play performance is captured through various camera angles."

The production team has filmed outdoor scenes and onstage performances since last October. Many cinematic techniques were used in editing and post-production refinements, maximizing the audio quality of the performance. Audiences also can enjoy close-ups of the performance from various angles, feeling totally engaged with the stage production.

Cha Yoo-kyung, right, and Kim Myung-gon in a scene from the stage movie
Cha Yoo-kyung, right, and Kim Myung-gon in a scene from the stage movie "The Story of an Old Couple." / Courtesy of Seoul Arts Center

Kim expressed satisfaction about filming a stage performance, saying that the camera moving among performers brought emotional weight to the drama when needed.

"I saw the movie for the first time at a theater today," he said. "The feelings I had while performing live on stage and on camera were very different. But, overall, it was a good experience to watch my acting in close-up shots."

The close-up scenes reveal the characters in detail. Kim's his facial wit is more highly expressed on screen than on stage.

Meanwhile, Cha shared some difficulties about performing for the silver screen.

"During live performances, I was able to express emotions depending on reactions from the audience," she said. "However, when I performed for the silver screen, there were times when I had to deal with multiple takes. It was difficult to produce the same emotion again and again."

"The Story of an Old Couple," which premiered as a stage play in 2003, will be shown at 26 CGV movie theaters nationwide starting Aug. 19.


Kwak Yeon-soo yeons.kwak@koreatimes.co.kr


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