Chunhyang-jeon is one of the best-known love stories and folk tales of Korea. It is the Korean version of Romeo and Juliet.
A musical based on the story adopts elements of traditional Korean music and dance and offers an unforgettable experience.
When you walk down Jeong-dong street, one of the most beautiful alleys in Seoul, you can see the Chongdong Theater. A unique musical is on an open run there. That is MISO.
MISO is a Korean musical that has staged 4,800 performances and welcomed 850,000 viewers from all over the world in the 16 years since 1997. Every single time the audience, 80 percent of whom are foreigners, applauds in admiration. Given the relatively small seating capacity of 280, theater critics have unanimously called the performance a box office success. There are several reasons why MISO has been enjoying such a big popularity among foreigners all throughout its 16-year run.
One of the advantages of this original Korean musical is that viewers - regardless of their home country - can understand the story and enjoy the show very easily. There are very few spoken lines throughout the performance, making it ideal for the audience made up of diverse nationalities. MISO combines dance, music, and mime; and all the actors use their faces, gestures, and motions when they act. That is why the viewers don’t need to speak Korean to enjoy MISO. If you think MISO lacks variety, you are mistaken. The dancing troupe of the musical includes 35 performers. During the show, they change into a total of 226 costumes and demonstrate exciting choreography such as Samulnori (traditional percussion quartet), Buchaechum (Korean fan dance), and Talchum (mask dance). Those are magnificent spectacles, so there is no time to turn your eyes away.
Communicating with the Audience
One characteristic feature of traditional Korean theater is the interaction between the actors and the audience. To keep this trait and induce the audience participation, MISO includes several traditional Korean games such as Ganggangsullae (circle dance), Notdaribalkki (crossing the bridge of people’s backs), and Jwibulnori (mouse fire game). There are also performances like Beona (plate-spinning) that members of the audience are invited to try on stage. In addition, there are several other events that require the full attention of the viewers.
Positioned as a Leading Brand of Traditional Korean Performances
MISO came in first in the evaluation of regular performances that was carried out by the Korean Tourism Organization in 2012. The performance was featured in numerous events at home and abroad. These included a UNESCO conference, the Korea-Japan Festival, and the Shanghai Expo closing ceremony. In short, MISO is at the vanguard of traditional Korean performance art.
An ounce of story line is worth a pound,
Quick Overview of the MISO Performance through Photographs
1. On a sunny day of Dano festival (the fifth day of the fifth month of the year according to the lunar calendar), fortune leads Mongryong, a typical young aristocrat, and a graceful young woman Chunhyang to fall in love with each other.
2. An extremely possessive district magistrate, Hakdo also comes to the Dano festival and sees Chunhyang. He is ravished by her beauty.
3. Hakdo does not shy away from using his power to make an aggressive romantic advance on Chunhyang. But Mongryong and Chunhyang’s love grows stronger and deeper day by day.
4. Hakdo becomes an incarnation of jealousy and finally concocts a vile plot to separate the lovers.
5. When Mongryong leaves, Hakdo persists in his effort to win Chunhyang’s heart. But Chunhyang spends every day waiting for Mongryong’s return.
6. Hakdo makes one final approach to Chunhyang but she rejects him harshly. In anger, Hakdo orders her execution. Just then, Mongryong appears with the commanding officers and punishes Hakdo. Chunhyang enjoys a reunion with Mongryong.
Met the Main
Actors of MISO
What is MISO’s secret to maintaining popularity with a foreign audience?
Lee Our performance - dance, stage, props - is based on Korean tradition. It is genuinely Korean and that is why many foreigners give it two thumbs up.
Park To break away from the prejudice that traditional performance is boring, we created a fast-moving story line. Also, we try to communicate with the audience, even though we don’t speak a common language.
What kind of Hansik do you like?
Lee My favorite Korean dishes are Bulgogi (slices of beef marinated in soy sauce) and Jeyukbokkeum (stir-fried spicy pork). These foods are good to boost energy after a performance.
Park I am a big fan of the spicy taste, so I like to eat spicy Korean foods that are made with Gochujang (red pepper paste). Among such foods, Bibimbap is the best. There are a lot of vegetables in the dish so I don’t need to worry about gaining weight. It is a perfect food for people like me who have to control their weight every day.
Please tell me about your future plan.
Lee & Park: We believe that our performance helps promote Korean culture around the world. Korea has much to offer visitors in terms of tourist attractions, outstanding sceneries, and friendly people. MISO is also a major attraction. We hope that if you watch our performance on your trip to Korea, it will be by far the best trip you’ve ever taken. We will be very happy to meet you!
How to become a main
character of MISO
Chongdong Theater offers experience programs: You can try on Hanbok (traditional Korean clothes) and take a Jangu (double-headed drum) class.
For KRW5,000 you can take pictures of yourself wearing various kinds of hanbok including the royal attire and a Korean wedding dress. Of course, you can put on MISO costumes, too.
In the jangu class, you don’t just try playing the drum, but learn the rhythms directly from the stage performers. Reservations for the class are accepted until 12 noon of the previous day.
Korean Traditional Costume Experience
Time All year round 2:50~3:40 p.m. and 6:50~7:40 p.m., Closed on Mondays
Price KRW 5,000
Time All year round 3:00~3:30 p.m. and 7:00~7:30 p.m., Closed on Mondays
Price KRW 15,000
Information and Reservations
Date and Time Open Run 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. daily except Mondays
Running Time 80 minutes
Location 43 Jeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Korea
Tickets R seat KRW 50,000, S seat KRW 40,000
Park Sung Eun firstname.lastname@example.org
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