Expat thespians on a zany journeyThe Seoul Players, one of the few English-language acting troupes in Seoul, is staging its fifth production. “Cosi,” a black comedy written by an Australian, Louis Nowra, opened at the Living Newspaper Theater near Hongik University Thursday, with more performances scheduled for tomorrow and Sunday and from Wednesday to May 16.
Taliesin Nyala, a 24-year-old American, will be directing a cast of eight who have been rehearsing since January. The plot revolves around a mental asylum, where a recent university graduate, Lewis (American Joey Knight), tries to help patients “come out their shell” through drama therapy. One of the patients has the brilliant idea of staging Mozart’s opera “Cosi fan Tutte.” Of course, none of them speak Italian, and all of them are certifiably crazy.
Nowra’s semi-autobiographical play touches on madness, sanity, compassion and life. While Lewis may be attempting to help these people, in return his life is transformed into a wild journey with characters like Doug, a pyromaniac (Craig McGeady, New Zealand), Julie, a drug addict (Denise Rinehart, U.S.), Ruth (Amelia Joubert, France), who is obsessive-compulsive, and Henry, a former lawyer who suffered a mental breakdown (Mat Malone, Australia).
The Seoul Players was founded three years ago by Roman Zolnierczyk, who, while officially the president, prefers a background role. Each of the troupe’s plays has a new international cast and director, giving more people a chance to participate. Prior to “Cosi,” the Seoul Players staged dramas and comedies such as “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” and “Dancing at Lughnasa.” Suzie Rielly, a staffer, studied English literature and drama in Britain. She calls the Players “a wonderful opportunity to become involved in theater firsthand again.”
Nyala, who directed plays in college and community theater, says the past few months have been a bonding, trying and learning experience for all involved. “There were plenty of insecure moments, but I learned patience and to have a sense of humor. Something really good has come of this.”
by Joe Yong-hee
Tickets are 20,000 won ($17) for adults, 15,000 won for students, 10,000 won for children. For more information, call (011) 787-1826 (ask for Susie Reilly) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.