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A Unspoken Imagination and the Circuit of Anti/Censorship

  • The Journal of Korean drama and theatre
  • 2024, (81), pp.13-64
  • Publisher : The Learned Society Of Korean Drama And Theatre
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : February 20, 2024
  • Accepted : April 2, 2024
  • Published : April 30, 2024

LEE, SEUNG-HEE 1

1성균관대학교 동아시아학술원

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the 1970s, a unspoken symptom of a loss of language performativity appeared extensively and impressively. This study sees it as a product of the censorship system but a sign of anti-censorship to go beyond it, and traces the circuit of anti/censorship through the theater company 'Eh-jeo-to' and Bang Tae-soo, which dramatically showed the dynamics of such anti-censorship around 1970. 'Eh-jeo-to', which expressed skepticism about the conventional theater norms, opens with a pantomime and continues the experiment of another anti-theatre. Although the result is poor, the experiment continues from the theater to the street. At this time, Bang Tae-soo, the representative of the theater company, participates in an ambitious and meaningful performance that dismantles established art ideas as a member of the ‘4th Group’. However, this group soon experiences a criticality that is not free from the censorship system of the Park Chung-hee administration. Pantomime or anti-theatre or performance is like a flash of anti-censorship in the gap of the censorship system, but the gap and flash are filled and refracted by ideological censorship and custom scandal. The existence and abolition of the ‘4th Group’ becomes a nodule where ‘Eh-jeo-to’ seek change once again. In the past, ‘Eh-jeo-to’ tried to experiment with anti-theatre that were insulated from the idea of established plays, but now it try to harmonize with them. An important change is the restoration of the language implied in silence while expanding the expressive possibilities of mime. It's a turn toward a play with a writer. The play of ‘Eh-jeo-to’, which aims to harmonize words and gestures containing thoughts, has a clearer social consciousness. But this choice is bound to face the power of censorship that has returned to sophistication. This is because as long as the censorship system persists, the movement of anti-censorship is designed to return to the magnetic field of censorship that will neutralize it. This is the situation in which the ‘Eh-jeo-to’ was placed in the mid-1970s. Other unspoken imaginations also need to be illuminated in this circuit of anti/censorship, but Madanggeuk, which combines dance, gestures, and words, is also an object of attention. This is because Madanggeuk is a product of the censorship system, but it is the practice of anti-censorship that enriched the unspoken imagination without being trapped in the circuit.

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.