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In the 1960s, the desire of contemporaneity through theater ─Focusing on the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's Birth Festival

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2023, (78), pp.13-67
  • DOI : 10.17938/tjkdat.2023..78.13
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : March 12, 2023
  • Accepted : April 10, 2023
  • Published : April 30, 2023

LEE YOUNG SEOK 1

1경희대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In 1964, Korean theater artists held the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's Birth Festival. The most important event of the celebration was the performance of Shakespeare's plays. Seven theater companies performed eight consecutive performances for a month. This "memorial performance" is a great success, recording a total of 37,000 spectators. The result of attracting about 9,000 people in a single work and about 700 people in a single performance was enough to give expectations that Korean theater, which had been in a slump, could be rejuvenated. However, this success due to several factors was also limited. First, in the 1960s, Korean theater artists were aiming for modern theater as a new aesthetic and wanted to acquire global contemporaryity through this. Although Shakespeare's play is not modern, performing it was a great opportunity to take pride in participating in contemporary world theater issues as a member of the world theater field. However, the establishment of modern aesthetics in the actual performance was not substantially pursued. Second, the media cooperated with the successful hosting of the festival and used it as an opportunity for the cultural advancement of Korean society, where industrialization had just begun. The media's extensive publicity contributed greatly to attracting audiences, but it was only a simple propagation of liberal arts ideology, and lacked interest in establishing practical cultural modernity.Third, many audiences were able to gather together in the boom of the festival. However, this is the result of the maximum gathering of theater audiences at the time, and it can be said that it was not very successful in developing a new audience. Moreover, the temporary gathering of the audience was far from the appearance of the liberal arts public who would appreciate plays as high-end art. As such, the 1964 Shakespeare Memorial Festival was the scene of a contradiction in which the desires of the theater field and the immediate problems in the 1960s were intersecting and refracting from each other.

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.