Anne Hamilton/Hamilton Dramaturgy


THE STACY PLAY on May 19th

THE STACY PLAY was given its first public staged reading on Saturday during a spectacular spring day in Central Park. Eleven audience members for each show followed Stacy to three locations as she shared her challenges, triumphs and hopes. It was an AEA-approved showcase with a limited audience in order to provide an intimate viewing experience.

The audience started at 67th Street and Fifth Avenue, continued up through The Mall, whose American elm trees provide a cathedral-like canopy, and ended up near the Bethesda Fountains where sounds of the splashing water mixed with that of violins played by park musicians.

Act One was staged on a rock promontory overlooking the fountain. The audience then moved into place  on a grassy plain overlooking the Lake filled with boaters for Act Two. Act Three was played in the safe haven of a grove of trees filled with sounds of birds and children playing, overlooking both the Fountain and the Lake. Dramaturg Walter Byongsok Chon led an audience talkback after the 2pm show.

Soraya Broukhim* starred as Stacy Lee Madison and Brent Wellington Barker III portrayed Jonathan, her dead love interest, in a story which brought the audience to such diverse locations as Paradise, the Upper West Side, Limbo, the Italian Riviera, Limbo, and the Womb. The actors gave passion and commitment to their roles, evidencing an onstage familiarity with one another which was developed as company members of The Living Theatre.

My Director’s Notes in the program detailed the origin of the piece, since starting out on a “deliberate journey of healing” three years ago, and Walter Byongsok Chon’s dramaturgical notes explain the form and content of the medieval pageant play and how it relates to THE STACY PLAY.

In response to the experience, New York playwright Robin Rice Lichtig comments, “When Stacy describes all the men she encountered in life, had experience with, then left behind… that works well with the audience actually physically moving along with her. It’s a sort of search, this journey — a search for the one true love she yearns to recapture. It’s interesting that she had that love early on in her life, yet she has to travel far to find it again in a different place…Birth and death are so close — both coming from and going to an unknown place which may be called “heaven.”

Many thanks to all to attended the staged readings. The 2pm performance was an official event of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s 30th Anniversary – “30 Plays in 30 Years”.

You may download the program here: THE STACY PLAY by Anne Hamilton Program May 19, 2012

*This Actor is appearing courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

The audience prepares to enter Central Park

Khenpo Tenzin Dargye, Anne Hamilton (Director and Playwright) and Maya Cantu

An official event of "30 Plays in 30 Years"

Deborah Savadge and friends with the LPTW Banner

THE STACY PLAY - A LOVE SONG - VOLUME I

Stephanie Wessels watches Soraya Broukhim as Stacy Lee Madison in Act One

THE STACY PLAY - A LOVE SONG - VOLUME I

Soraya Broukhim as Stacy, Brent Wellington Barker III as Jonathan, and Walter Byongsok Chon reading stage directions

THE STACY PLAY - A LOVE SONG - VOLUME I

Soraya Broukhim in Act One, Part II – AND THEN I WENT INSIDE

For more information about THE STACY PLAY, please email me at hamiltonlit@hotmail.com



THE STACY PLAY – SOLD OUT

I’m very excited about directing a staged reading of THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I for two performances in Central Park this Saturday. The cast consists of Soraya Broukhim* as Stacy and Brent Wellington Barker III as Jonathan. They are both members of The Living Theatre’s acting company, where I recently saw them perform in Judith Malina’s HISTORY OF THE WORLD.

Our rehearsal last Saturday was full of challenges. I had to rework the route for the walking tour because of loud music coming from events based near the sites I had chosen. I moved the action to three spots surrounding Bethesda Fountain: an outcropping of that great, bold gray rock for Act One, a site overlooking the Lake for Act Two, and a grove of trees overlooking both for Act Three. I  hope that the audience will feel a connection with nature and a large sense of space while listening to the story of a woman’s spectacular life which spans over a century.

Stay tuned next week for news of the reading, and some audience responses.

*This actor appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

Soraya Broukhim and Brent Wellington Barker III

Stage Manager Ben Rodman, Playwright/Director Anne Hamilton, Soraya Broukhim and Brent Wellington Barker III

Soraya Broukhim and Brent Wellington Barker III rehearse as Jonathan and Stacy

Soraya Broukhim, Brent Wellington Barker II, and Dramaturg Walter Byongsok Chon



Anne to Direct THE STACY PLAY in Central Park

The League of Professional Theatre Women, an international organization based in New York City, is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2012 with a variety of programs and events.

Under the leadership of Co-Presidents Kristin Marting and Lorca Peress, the League has launched 30 PLAYS CELEBRATE 30 YEARS”, which features 30 brand new plays, musicals and theatre events curated by League members. The events will take place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and beyond; from site-specific theatre on the prairie in central Canada; to the unveiling of a new play in London; to Memphis, Tennessee; to downtown performances at the New York Theatre Workshop, the Cherry Lane and HERE.

I am curating and directing a walking tour staged reading on May 19th on Literary Walk in Central Park in New York City, ending at the Bethesda Fountain.

I created an updated model of a medieval pageant play in the middle of New York’s most famous park. Stacy, the main character in my full-length play, THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I, goes through a modern journey of the soul, wheeling her pageant cart between eight locations, ending at the fountain.

The audience will follow Stacy as she travels through such “locations” as Paradise, Limbo and The Womb, as well as her Manhattan apartment, sometimes with Jonathan, her love interest who happens to be dead.

Because THE STACY PLAY is episodic in nature, I thought it would be fascinating to literally journey through her story. Originally, I intended for the walking tour to be done in Nervi, on the Italian Riviera, where I enjoyed a fellowship and residency from the Bogliasco Foundation several years ago. But my ultimate desire was to present it in a New York City park, and the League presented me with an opportunity to direct my play in my dream location.  This is just one example of how unique staging can partner with women artists’ advocacy efforts to produce a groundbreaking event.

Please join me at this 2pm event on May 19th.  RSVP to hamiltonlit@gmail.com. I’ll see you on the Mall!

Anne Hamilton has more than twenty years of experience in the professional theatre in NYC, across the nation, and internationally. She is available for script consultations and career advising through hamiltonlit@ hotmail.com. Season Two of Hamilton Dramaturgy’s TheatreNow! concluded with an interview with Jennifer Tipton, the award-winning lighting designer.

Please download this article here: BCWJ article – Anne Hamilton to Direct THE STACY PLAY in Central Park



THE STACY PLAY on May 19th

Save the date!

I will curate and direct a staged reading of THE STACY PLAY – A LOVE SONG – VOLUME I on May 19th in New York City. This is an official event of the League of Professional Theatre Women’s 30 Plays in 30 Years celebration. You can learn more about the other events at: http://www.theatrewomen.org/jan-2012-dec-2012-30-plays-celebrate-30-years

*Saturday, May 19
2:00pm Central Park, New York, NY
Curated by Anne Hamilton
The Stacy Play − A Love Song-Volume I. Hamilton directs a staged reading walking tour of her modern pageant play. Audience meets at the NW corner of 67th St. and 5th Ave to be led to The Mall. We follow Stacy and Jonathan, her dead teenage friend, to eight stations along Literary Walk, ending at Bethesda Fountain. Bring something to sit on; the audience will walk between locations.
Discussion: hamiltondramaturgy.wordpress.com
RSVP: hamiltonlit@gmail.com



Translating INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA

Translating INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA:

A Contemporary Korean Play Meets A New York Audience

 By Walter Byongsok Chon

In October 2010, Columbia University saw the staging of WALKABOUT YEOLHA, an adaptation of a Korean play by Sam-Shik Pai.  This production, an M.F.A. thesis project for Korean director Kon Yi (‘11), marked an encounter that, in my opinion, has yet to become more frequent: an exposure to contemporary Korean playwriting for a New York audience.  It was with great pleasure and prestige that I became part of this project as translator of the original play by Pai.

It was in the summer of 2010 that the director Yi contacted me about this play, which, in Korea, premiered at Towol Theater in Seoul Arts Center, directed by Jin-Taek Sohn, in March 2007.  A literal translation of the original title would be INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA, Yeolha being the destination of Jiwon Park (a.k.a. Yeon-Ahm), an 18th-century Korean philosopher who traveled to China in pursuit of practical ideas to modernize Korean society.  Based on Yeon-Ahm’s travelogue, The Jehol Diary, Pai created an allegorical satire, exploring the questions of tradition and innovation.  Pai introduces us to a nearly-fossilized, fictive village in a desert, and guides us through the turbulence the village undergoes at its first encounter with what the villagers call the “exotic.”  Yeon-Ahm, the narrator of the play, is a “four-legged beast” and, as she tells the villagers of the world outside the village, provides the initial conflict of the play.  Her talking eventually makes her the scapegoat to save the village from being “erased.”

In the American theatre scene, contemporary Korean playwrights are only to be found by avid researchers aiming to find them. Part of the reason is that Korea’s theatre development suffered a disconnect in the early twentieth century while it was under the dominance of Japan.  Only after 1950 could Korean theatre emerge again.  In the director’s note, Yi mentions he found only three Korean playwrights whose works had been translated into English – Taesuk Oh, Yun-taek Lee and Kang-baek Lee – which gave him a strong incentive to bring YEOLHA to life in New York.  Though the three aforementioned playwrights are some of the most recognized playwrights in Korea, hardly any of their work has received a professional production in America.  In theatre history education, the significance of Korean theatre is mostly allotted to the ritual tradition of Kut and mask dance called Talchum.  However, these modern and contemporary playwrights are hardly covered compared to well-recognized Asian playwrights such as Gao Xingjian (China, THE BUS STOP, THE OTHER SHORE) or Yukio Mishima (Japan, THE LADY AOI).  While Korean-related themes are depicted by playwrights such as Young-Jean Lee (SONGS OF THE DRAGONS FLYING TO HEAVEN) and Lloyd Suh (AMERICAN HWANGAP), it is reasonable to say that these two authors write from a distinctive Korean-American perspective.

The American audience was first exposed to a Korean theatre production with the LaMaMa production of PRINCE HAMYUL, an adaptation of HAMLET, directed by Minsoo Ahn, in 1977.  A revival of this piece called HAMYUL/HAMLET played LaMaMa in July 2011, directed by Byungkoo Ahn, the son of Minsoo Ahn.  Recently, more Korean troupes have been bringing their acclaimed productions to America. In 2009, Sadari Movement Laboratory performed their adaptation of Georg Büchner’s WOYZCEK, directed by Do-Wan Lim, at the Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar Festival.  Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts (SFPA) put on their adaptation of Euripides’ MEDEA, called MEDEA AND ITS DOUBLE, at LaMaMa in January 2010.   These companies imaginatively fused western classics with traditional Korean performance elements and created original works crossing over both cultural traditions.

For our WALKABOUT production, the guarantee of performance, combined with the significance of representing a new Korean play to the New York audience, was certainly a big advantage as I entered into the translation.  Picturing the performance venue, I imagined how the words of Pai could be delivered to the audience.  My primary objective was to enable fluent communication between the two cultures: making what is Korean in Pai’s text present and relevant for the American audience.  As is frequently touched upon, translation entails “cultural interpretation” and, therefore, requires not only proficiency in both languages but also a complete embracing of both cultures.

In YEOLHA, my first challenge was to make explicit and active what is innately Korean.  The village in the play takes after a traditional Korean village that operates on a hierarchy based on patriarchy and gerontocracy.  What is unique in terms of language among people who have become so familiar with each other is that they often use insinuating and provocative remarks in place of straightforward statements.  For example, to a prodigal son who returned home after a long absence, a Korean mother would reservedly say, “You’re back already? Are you sure you had enough fun out there?” instead of bursting into tears and showing her joy at the reunion.  In the play, the villagers by now have absorbed this kind of language pattern, which reflects the intimacy among them.  The language among the villagers also reflects the hierarchy.  For example, a village senior could throw a denigrating comment to a village woman or boy without being considered the least bit insulting.  Showing respect for elders is, after all, deep in the Korean cultural genes, and elders, if not receiving the proper respect, actively demand it.  While the play clearly provides the appropriate context for the tone of each word, it was my venture, when it came to the underlying Korean sentiments, to find the right expressions to convey the subtle nuance.

More broadly, delivering the right tone was of utmost importance for the allegory and satire in this play.  The idea which prevails in the story – tradition being threatened by innovation – establishes this play as an allegory about the danger of complacency, while the chaos the villagers go through in the struggle brings out comic and satiric elements.  Conflict occurs more often between groups or between individual and group than between individuals, so each character needed not only to breathe as an individual, but also to be characterized as a type, that is, as a member of a certain group.  For example, the men, in general, give straightforward addresses, while the women speak more in a scrupulous manner. The seniors, to show their authority, use formal and commanding vocabulary, while the boys talk in fragments and colloquial idioms.  The main characters are given their own particular ways of speaking: Yeon-Ahm, the narrator, speaks articulately and objectively, just like the Stage Manager in OUR TOWN; and the Inspector, to emphasize that he belongs to a completely different world, uses bombastic phrases and terms.

After completing the premiere of the adaptation of INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA, I am still seeking to make the original translation more compact and active for the stage.  It is my hope for contemporary Korean plays to be introduced.

WALTER BYONGSOK CHON recently received his MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale School of Drama and is continuing his study at YSD as a DFA candidate in residence, teaching theatre history. He may be reached at Byongsok.chon@yale.edu

This article was published in Hamilton Dramaturgy’s ScriptForward! #25 (September, 2011, Vol. 6, No. 25). You may request a subscription by writing to hamiltonlit@hotmail.com.

Download the article here: Translating INCHING TOWARDS YEOLHA by Walter Byongsok Chon