For theater group, the play's the thing when it's done in English -- in Seoul

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For theater group, the play's the thing when it's done in English -- in Seoul

There is no shortage of movie theaters in Seoul where foreigners can enjoy watching the latest films in English. But if those same foreigners want to see live theater in English, they have long been out of luck. Until now.

An amateur theater group called Seoul Players is ready to present its first production, "I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Fell," by the Irish playwright Bernard Farrell. The play was first performed at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1979.

The community theater group consists of about 70 people, and is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that draws most of its members from the foreign community. The founder of the group is Roman Zolnierczyk, an Australian who has been involved in amateur theater for the past 20 years. Noticing the absence of an English community theater group in Seoul, he decided to take action, and started to recruit people in March. The members come from various countries, including Australia, Canada, Britain, the United States and Korea. The group has an open-door policy, meaning that anyone who is interested can join and try his talent on stage, provided that he loves the theater and is willing to sacrifice weekends and holidays for rehearsals. Most of the members have some experience in professional or community theater, but some have little or no acting background. The group plans to produce three plays per year, and it hopes to eventually stage a play that has been translated from Korean to English.

Because producing a play involves more than acting and directing, the group welcomes as members people who can contribute in various roles behind the curtain.

The group's first performance will be Wednesday, the start of a five-day run of "I Do Not Like Thee, Dr. Fell." The play will be staged at the Jongbo Theater in Daehangno, in downtown Seoul, and begins at 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday there will be additional matinees at 2 p.m.

While the English-speaking foreign community is the main target, the group also wants Koreans to attend. Tickets cost 20,000 won ($16) and can be bought through Ticketlink (www.ticketlink.co.kr) or at the door. For more information, contact the Seoul Players at their Web site, seoulplayers@yahoo.com.

by Brian Lee

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