In this article, the “modernization of the tradition” constructed on the cultural politics and the way in which it appropriated in the korean theatre in the 1970s were analyzed. It is trying to reveal its implications. It is also a work to critically review the aspects of self-censorship in the korean theatre in the 70s. To that end, we looked at the theatre company Minye Theatre, which preoccupied the traditional discussions in the 1970s by creating national dramas. Until now, the evaluation of the theatre company Minye Theatre in the 1970s has focused on the achievement on the directing of Heo Gyu, who promoted the succession and transformation of tradition. However, the traditional ideology constructed in the state-led cultural politics in the 70s and the way in which it was operated cannot be evaluated only in terms of artistic achievement. The ideology of tradition is selected according to the selective criteria of the subject to appropriate tradition. What’s important is that certain objects are excluded, discarded, re-elected, re-interpreted and re-recognized in the selection process of selected traditional ideology. This is the situation in the ‘70s, when tradition was constantly re-recognized amid differences between the decadent and the disorder that were then designated as non-cultural, and led to a new way of appropriate. The nation-led traditional discussion of the ‘70s legalized the tradition with stable values, one of the its way was the national literary and artistic support.
Under the banner of modernization of tradition, theatre company Minye preoccupied the discussions on the tradition and presented folk drama as a new theatre. As an alternative to the crisis of korean theatre at the time, the Minye chose the method of inheriting and transforming tradition. It is noteworthy that Heo Gyu, the representative director of the theatre company Minye, recognized the succession and transformation of traditional performance as both a calling and an experiment. For Heo Gyu, tradition was accepted as an irresistible stable value and an unquestionable calling, and as a result, his performance, filled with excessive traditional practices, became overambitious, especially when it failed to reflect the present-here reality, the repeated use of traditional expression tools resulted in skilled craftsmanship, not artistic creation. The traditional ideology of the 70s unfolds in a new aspect of appropriation in the 80s. In 1986, Son Jin-Cheok, Kim Seong-nyeo, and Yoon Mun-sik, who were key members of the theatre company Minye Theatre, left the theatre to create the theatre company Michu, and secured popularity through Madangnori(popular folk yard theatre). Son Jin-Cheok's Madangnori is overbearing through satire and humor. It gained popularity by criticizing and mocking state power. On the other hand, not only the form of traditional performance, but also the university-centered Madanggeuk movement, which appropriated on the spirit of resistance from the people to its traditional values, has rapidly grown.
In the field of traditional discussions of the 70s, Madanggeuk was self-born through appropriation in which the spirit of resistance of the people is used as a traditional value. Madanggeuk as well as Michu that achieved the popularization of Madangnori cannot be discussed solely by the artistic achievement of the modernization of tradition. Critics of korean theatre in response to state-led traditional discussions in the 70s was focused only on the qualitative achievement of performing arts based on artistry. I am very sorry for that. As a result, the popular resistance of the Madanggeuk and the Madangnori were established in the ‘difference’ with the traditions of the theatre company Minye Theatre. Theatre company Minye Theatre was an opportunity for the modernization of tradition, but the fact that it did not continuously produce significant differences. This is the meaning and limitation of the “tradition” of the theatre company Minye Theatre in the history of korean theatre in the 1970s.