Whale of a musical makes waves with strong emotion

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Whale of a musical makes waves with strong emotion

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The multitalented cast of “Moby Dick” performs in a scene from the musical, which runs through Aug. 20 at Doosan Art Center in central Seoul. Provided by Doosan Art Center


Perhaps it was fitting that I should try to see the musical “Moby Dick” on Tuesday, when the rain was pouring so hard I felt like I was in a scene from the classic novel. But I soon realized that the rain was there to show me what it feels like to see a rainbow at the theater.

At 110 minutes, the musical is long and there is no intermission, but I was fascinated throughout. The plot is geared to convey the surrealistic elements of the novel and this aim is supported by powerful acting, inventive staging and an expansive score that tugs at the heartstrings without being melodramatic.

Based on Herman Melville’s 1851 novel of the same name, “Moby Dick” was produced through Doosan Art Center’s creative arts program, Doosan Art Lab. The lab gives artists the time and financial support to develop their craft. With “Moby Dick,” the story of one man’s hunt for an elusive whale, the investment shows.

The musical brands itself as an “actor-musician” production, which basically means that the two actors do double duty and play instruments (guitar and cello) while the five musicians (two pianists, a violinist, a trumpeter and a clarinetist) sing and act.

But the instruments are not just there to accompany the action. They also play a crucial role in the story. The violin bow symbolizes the harpoon used to spear the animal, the clarinet is used as a telescope to spot the whale’s path and the cello becomes an artificial leg for Captain Ahab after his is bitten off by the whale.

The musicians, although trained to channel their emotions through their music, divide their talents between the music and their voices, gestures and facial expressions. The overall effect is effective and at times chilling.

Pianist Shin Ji-ho, who won the Presidential Achievement Award for his music in 2005, plays the part of Ishmael, the only survivor in the fierce fight with Moby Dick, and narrates throughout the performance whenever there’s a scene change. When Captain Ahab becomes frantic about attacking Moby Dick to get his revenge, Shin’s piano playing grows more and more intense, sending a shiver through Shin’s body and reflecting the captain’s terrible rage.

* “Moby Dick” runs until Aug. 20 at Doosan Art Center’s Space 111. Performances are at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; at 4 and 8 p.m. on Wednesdays; at 3 and 7 p.m. on Saturdays; and at 3 p.m. on Sundays. There are no performances on Mondays. Tickets cost 40,000 won ($38.15). Go to Jongno 5-ga Station, line No. 1, exit 1. Call (02) 708-5001, or go to www.doosanartcenter.com.


By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [CBS노컷]
액터 뮤지션 뮤지컬이란?…노래·연기·연주가 있는 `모비딕`
출연하는 모든 배우가 연기와 노래는 물론 악기를 직접 연주하는 뮤지컬이 있다.

`모비딕`은 액터-뮤지션(Actor-Musician) 뮤지컬로 악기 연주가 공연을 위한 소재나 장식적 요소로 쓰이는 것이 아니라 극 전반을 이끌고 가는 중요한 역할을 한다.

전문 연주자와 뮤지컬 배우들은 피아노, 바이올린, 첼로, 더블베이스, 기타, 클라리넷, 색소폰, 트럼펫, 드럼 등 악기를 통해 각각의 캐릭터를 표현한다.

미국의 소설가 허먼 멜빌의 1851년 작(作) `모비딕`을 원작으로 한 뮤지컬 `모비딕`은 모던하면서도 초현실주의적인 원작의 분위기를 다양한 음악적 기법으로 표현한다.

원작은 흰머리 고래 모비딕에게 한쪽 다리를 잃은 선장 에이협의 복수담을 그렸다. 실제로 포경선을 탄 경험이 있는 멜빌은 작은 배로 거대한 모비딕과 싸우는 웅장한 광경을 섬세하고 박진감있게 묘사했다.

뮤지컬은 "추방당한 개척자"라고 스스로 외치는 이스마엘과 과묵하고 친절한 작살잡이 퀴퀘그의 우정과 대자연의 순리에 도전한 인간과 자연이 어떻게 공존하는가에 대해 이야기한다.

이스마엘 역에는 수려한 외모로 화제를 모으고 있는 팝피아니스트 신지호가 맡았다. 신지호는 피아노를 통해 고래잡이 선원을 꿈꾸는 소년의 꿈을 표현하며, 퀴퀘그 역은 국내 최초 집시바이올리니스트 KoN(이일근)이 강인하면서도 신비로운 바이올린 선율로 이국의 느낌과 작살잡이를 표현한다.

특히 이스마엘과 퀴퀘그의 연주 대결 장면은 즉흥 연주의 묘미를 극대화한다. 이 외에도 클라리넷은 고래잡이 망원경, 첼로의 핀은 선장의 외다리를 표현하는 등 7명의 배우가 연주하는 악기는 극중 캐릭터의 색다른 재미를 느끼게 한다.

`모비딕`은 뮤지컬 평론가 조용신의 연출 데뷔작으로 대본과 작사, 연출을 책임진다. 공연은 오는 19일~8월20일 두산아트센터 Space111.
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