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Cheollima Movement and North Korea’s theatre

Kim Jeong Soo 1

1단국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study focuses on the fact that researches on North Korean theater related to Cheollima Movement in the 1960s when North Korea was on the fast track have not been made and aims to analyze the aspect of accepting public performance of the spirit of Cheollima that appeared in the production process of North Korean theater from 1960 to the mid-1960s. As the result of this study, it was found that Cheollima Movement in the 1960s was a popular movement for economic construction and exerted strong influences all over North Korea. Kim Il-seong demanded the literary artists to describe the heroic struggles of the people in the Cheollima era, and this demand was converged into ‘reality experience,’ and ‘collective creations.’ Of course, the theatrical circles quickly took the lead in practicing Kim Il-seong’s instructions. As a result, ‘reality experience,’ and ‘collective creations’ brought to the theatrical circles a new creation methods in the production process of the joint creation of plays, the materialization of new communistic human models equipped with party spirit and technology, and the creation of lines/characters/scenes through real persons. This method of creation may or may not be a totally new method, but its meaning needs to be illuminated together with the circumstances in which Kim Jeong-il, after graduating from university in 1964, designated the literary artist circles as his foothold of political starting point. After the purge of Gapsan faction of North Korea in 1967, Kim Jeong-il became the strong heir to Kim Il-seong. In this period, he advocated ‘Juchae style’ literary art through operatic revolution first and the Kim Jeong-il style method of creation became unique creation theory of North Korean literary art circles and it has been displaying power up to now. If so, the ‘joint creation’ method in the short period of 1960s can be the last creation method that was free/had been free in North Korea. Such things as the observation of internal/external behavior of original characters, the completion of lines heard on the scene through discussion, the creation through collaboration of actors and the playwright, the conception of real persons’ life into scenes, active discussion on the side effects of creation methods are certainly creative ideas of theatrical people in North Korea and by extension the experimental spirit. This is the meaning of this period in the 70 year-history of North Korean theater. It is because creation and objectification are the basic elements of theater.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.