I haven’t even completed my first full week in Seoul and I have had the opportunity to see the amazing musical, Seopyeonje…..twice. Of course, the draw for me was G.O, who is currently sharing the role of Dong Ho in the musical with co-actors, Michael Lee and Song Yong Jin. The moment I learned that G.O was cast in this role, I immediately made plans to come to Seoul to see it and support him. Yes, I am crazy like that.
Seopyeonje is a haunting story of love, duty, and loss. It is also a story of finding your own voice and singing the song that is the soundtrack of your life.
When I first learned G.O was cast, I did my research of the story because I wanted to know about it but I also wanted to know more about G.O’s character, Dong Ho. Nothing could have prepared me for the splendor of this production. It is nothing short of amazing. And, G.O, well I admit to expecting greatness from him because he is so completely and magnanimously talented. But the man completely blew me away.
He goes so deep into his character, Dong Ho. I felt every emotion he conveyed. It was wonderful. G.O has some mighty powerful acting chops, y’all. Some serious ones, at that! He lost himself in Dong Ho. Think about this. G.O is a full on R&B guy. His smooth vocals and R&B just go together. That is his vein and vibe. Dong Ho is part of a family of pansori folk singers. Pansori is a traditional form of story-telling folk music out of the southern part of South Korea. G.O is a southern South Korean man so it is rather fitting he landed in this role. He portrays Dong Ho as the character I most believe he was slated to be: tender, loving, ambitious and torn.
So the R&B singer had to go folksy and learn to play the barrel drum, or buk, that is used in the accompaniment to the singer telling the story. In Seopyeonje, Dong Ho and his older sister, Song Hwa are mentored by their overbearing father whose course and brusque (and often times abusive nature) forces them into the life of the pansori musicians.
After the death of their mother (a death Dong Ho clearly blames his father for), Dong Ho breaks away from the family and embarks upon a life of a rock singer. So now our gorgeous R&B singer has to rock it out. And ROCK IT OUT he does. Dear lord I wish there was a soundtrack available because you would be impressed. Very impressed.
After Dong Ho leaves, Song Hwa is left to continue on as a pansori singer (without her treasured brother) and in an effort to make her even more sensational, her father intentionally blinds her. OMG! There were scenes in this musical where the audience was moved to tears, me included. And………………I assure you I lost it completely when G.O’s tears flowed during a number of scenes. Yes it is THAT emotional. The story all unto itself is breathtaking and heartbreaking – the music is spectacular.
Here is a taste of what I experienced:
My first night I was not prepared to get good pictures during the curtain call which was the only time cameras were allowed. My second night I was more successful.
The cast was all seated for the first curtain call.
His joy, evident. With his ‘noona’ Song Hwa, musical actress Cha Jiyeon. She is amazing.
Glowing. Beautiful. Man.
Another successful performance.
Drinking in his wonderful ovation.
Acknowledging the amazing orchestra.
I won’t soon forget the experience that was Seopyeonje.