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A Study on the History and Staging of Changgeuk Baebijang-jeon

LEE JINJOO 1

1서울대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Since the early 20th century, Baebijang-jeon (<배비장전>) has become a staple of changgeuk (창극) repertoire. In respect that the transmitted pansori’s song (창) is merged into changgeuk’s songs, the position of this work, which only conveys editorials without chang, is very characteristic in changgeuk’s history. The reason why pansory Baebijang-taryong (<배비장타령>) could not be transmitted was that the sentiment of this work was inclined to humor, and the main agent and target of humor within Chosun’s status system were ambiguous. In the early 20th century, as the status system collapsed, the range of classes enjoying art became extensive. With this atmosphere, the Lost Song Pansori (실창판소리) was reborn as changgeuk Baebijang-jeon and has been steadily played and loved by the public. Old printed Baebijang-jeon published by Singuseorim in 1916 ended as the negative character Baebijang received a prize after mending his flaws. This ending implied that the public of those days sought the universal laugh rather than an attack toward the upper class. In 1930’s as interest in traditional culture was increasing, Baebijang-jeon was considered a classic by comparing with Chunhyang-jeon (<춘향전>) and Simcheong-jeon (<심청전>) and became the major changgeuk repertory in Chosun folk music theater (조선성악연구회). Since National Changgeuk Theater of Korea was established in 1960’s, Baebijang-jeon has been largely played as an authentic repertory. However, changgeuk Baebijang-jeon has been frequently played not because it is a mere classic, but because it has great advantages such as a sense of humor, sensuality and romance for the public art. Also, those advantages were suited and effective to compose and to make scene for an theatrical events. Changgeuk Baebijang-jeon caused laughter and visually maximized the exposure of hypocrisy by showing the naked body of the negative character. It created characters and scenes by focusing on reconciliation rather than attack, and eventually induced either romantic or cheerful ending.

Citation status

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