This project started as a part of the Agitart project and aimed to make a play with local residents in Seongam Island. However, the first plan that aimed many local residents’ participations had to be changed due to the condition at that time. When the text was chosen to Shakespeare’s King Lear, casting an old man for the role of King Lear became the most important matter. Thus, we visited Kisik Moon and suggested him to take a role of King Lear because the main character King Lear in one of the Shakespeare’s four great tragedies was in his early 80s and the respected elder of the town Mr. Moon was coincidently in his early 80s. He accepted the suggestion without hesitation. The scale of the play King Lear is big; it has five acts and required more than 20 actors. Thus, it needed to be rearranged for the condition at the town. The four characters became important in a new script: a narration, father, three daughters and a clown because of his ability for diverse roles. Moreover, this project intended to find following meanings besides bringing local residents’ participations.
First, we (the project group) wanted to set the agenda about a main agent of art.
In the definition of an artist and non-artist based on the understanding them as a producer and consumer, we wanted to make a participant observation on how experiences of art producing influence disadvantage people. In order to continue this, a conditional definition had to be set; taking the role in the Shakespeare’s play could give a positive influence on an old man’s life and a meaningful change to him.
The project went on periodically in GCC, Mr. Moon’s house and his workplace from March 9 to May 7, 2015. When reading and analyzing the script, he talked about the life of King Lear who lived hundreds of years ago in the play and his life in Seongamdo Island. For us, it was a good opportunity to learn diversely about the past and present of the town. The education and practice on speech followed after the analysis. The main focus was helping Mr. Moon understand the character’s situation and make his speech natural as if he speaks in everyday life while paying attention to the basic matters like vocalization and pronunciation. After practicing lines, his flow on the stage was checked. Many movements and memorizing long lines were not easy to his age so the other actor in the role of a clown helped his perform in diverse ways. The curtain of the play <shakespeare’s visit to seongam island .king lear> finally rose in front of local residents on May 7, 2015 at GCC Testbed. First, the documentary film of the project’s process was played. Then, Mr. Moon, wearing King Lear’s make up by the help of professional staffs, went on the stage and performed what he practiced with professional actors. The time of understanding the role in King Lear with Mr. Moon in the last three months helped us find that life in the Shakespeare’s work can be adapted to everyone’s life beyond time and place especially when Mr. Moon juxtaposed his life with King Lear’s. The distance of life and art in Seongamdo Island was becoming closer. Moreover, in the aspect of the context, although it was just one in ten thousand, taking down life’s ordeal as a person living in the island for the entire of life and being a marginal man could be seen from Mr. Moon’s active engagement. This change could be also found in his wife’s eyes. While looking at the whole process including the actual performance and the enjoyment next to Mr. Moon, she may think of not only her husband but also one’s life. The seats were full with elders of the Seongam Island and they witnessed what had happened. The man, who has been around them for many years whenever they pass by the community hall, work in vineyards or wait for a bus to buy agricultural pesticides, became a different man with a costume on the stage and spitted out the word like fate or god. This project did not just beg for a simple participation but encouraged active participation of the community. The positive effects from experiences of art producing stated above were proven through the project’s whole process. The result cannot be defined in an exact research result or number but the possibility is strong. Even the fact that Mr. Moon’s eyes on artists and art became warmer after three months of the project proved that there must be a change in his recognition.