What would happen if you died in the next 100 days? The time of one’s death is always coming. We hear the word ‘death’ fairly often. However we leave a space between our daily reality and the coming of one’s own death. Do you really think the coming of ‘death’ is a story far away from us? One’s daily reality and death might seem distant but yet there is a close relationship between the two. How is this expressed in the play ‘The Sea and Umbrella’? The Department of Theatre presents 7 plays in their seasonal series for ‘spring.’ CAH went to watch the first play in these series, ‘The Sea and Umbrella’.
1) Life of this couple
‘The Sea and Umbrella’ is a story written by a Japanese writer named Misda Masataka. This story quietly and calmly tells the story of a terminally ill wife and a husband who stays beside her. In the piece, nobody tells how and why the wife came down with the sickness. Instead, by gently showing the life of the terminally ill wife and the husband beside her, the story proceeds. A peculiarly dramatic and interesting play ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ was directed by a student in their 7th year in the Department of Theatre. The play talks about death and the end of life. This could be a quite heavy topic but this is presented with moderate emotions. Without any exciting events, this play attracts the audience very smoothly and gently creating sympathy within the audience for the story. Lots of university students in their 20s out there wouldn’t be familiar with the word ‘death.’ However, if we come close with that situation in reality, we might miss the essence of such an event due to exaggerated or minimized reactions. The play gives us a chance to think about this essential fact that we’re missing right now, and CAH believes that message has been well presented.
2) Life and death
As mentioned above, the play ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ mainly deals with ‘death.’ Like the title, ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ presents opposite ideas between the substantial and unsubstantial, flow and inflow. This could be a story you’ve heard often but as the play goes on, you will naturally see yourself into the story. ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ has diversity of oppositions within its story. Slow and fast, existence and nonexistence, seen and unseen; the story goes on very slowly without any strong beats. However, to combat boredom, there are laughs at points. The unseen lies on a quiet stage, unsaid words and there is unseen love and tension between the characters. This shows that death is not about disappearance, but is about what is unseen. We know that death is there but unseen, this is also shown in the play ‘The Sea and Umbrella.’ After the play ended, CAH could think more clearly about the unseen.
3) The newly made ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ by the Department of Theatre
One word that could describe the meaning of the play ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ after watching it was ‘silence.’ The story was quiet but deep at the same time. The story starts with the wife, Young-A, asking her husband, Kyeong-bin, to get her umbrella she left at the park. While Kyeong-bin mischievously comes back holding the umbrella, he hears that Young-A only has only about 100 days left to live. After hearing this news there isn’t a big change in the life of the couple. One change is the fact that Young-A can’t go outside, and so Kyeong-bin started to do things himself. Their love towards each other still remained the same; they still laughed, ate and lived like before. In the middle of the play, there was a time when Young-A said “He is now going to be alone often.” After saying it, no one could say a word. This scene showed how they simply accepted the heart-breaking future they were heading towards. Later, the couple hears that a close outing will be allowed, so they plan on going to the sea. But the arrival of an unexpected guest, Hye-mi, comes, making their plan fall apart. “Please don’t forget me” Young-A says these words crying. They both look at each other silently without any words. Eventually, Young-A passes away without going to the sea leaving Kyeong-bin alone. Kyeong-bin then says these words “There’s nothing I can do.” The time of death is coming but since we cannot control it, we should live our best in the time left. Since there is nothing he can do about the shortness of the time remaining, he tries to do what he can do for her. Instead of the parts when there was laughter, the story was overall very quiet. Death is a moment everyone will experience; it could be an unexpected event or an event in the far future. As this play showed us, there is time to think about the most essential and special parts of our life.
There is not a single play that is same every day. Even a play performed everyday differs day by day according to the audience, the applause, the condition of actors, and the stage. These unpredictable points can make up the charming aspects of a play. ‘The Sea and Umbrella’ not only made the audience recognize the important things we’re missing but allows us to realize what preciousness is. From freshmen to seniors, from directing to acting, everything done by the Department of Theatre has definitely been heart-moving and thoughtful.
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