Have you ever imagined that people can live inside a subway? Based on the webcomic, the play ‘A Tenant on Subway Line Number 2’ is about homeless people living inside subway line number 2. A background that seems to have brought the real train will probably make the audience more familiar with it. The play criticizes society with somewhat unfamiliar material concerning ‘Homeless People’, and further conveys a moving message. How did they get to stay in the subway? Moreover, what do they want to convey to the audience?
Lee Ho-sun, the main character of the play, has respected his father, who used to be the head of subway line no. 2. Then he decides to have the same job as his father. However, this is never easy. After a few years, he luckily gets a job as a station worker on line no.2. One day on his way home from work, Ho-sun, who was tired, falls asleep in the subway and goes straight to the garage. He finds it surprising that homeless people live in the subway. When he reported this to the head of the subway, the mission given back to him was to drive the homeless out of the subway. He does his best to get a promotion as a reward, but those homeless will not easily get out.
City Hall (Lee Ho-sun): He is a righteous young man who only looks ahead. He is a good man who cannot even pass by a single begging person, but he does not care that much about his girlfriend. He eventually gets a breakup notice from her.
Seongnae: She is a character who gets angry at everything, and is constantly aware of other people. Whenever the subway arrives at Jamsil Saenae Station, she always looks pretty in the same place and waits for the door to open. Then her frustration also repeats.
Guui: If the characters are in trouble, he is the one who helps them in any situation. He sometimes deludes himself that City Hall is his son due to his Alzheimer’s disease. In isolation from the situation, he is a very loving grandfather.
Bangbae: She is just like the mother of the tenants on line no.2. She encourages those who are tired and those in need of courage. Had it not been for her, we could not have expected a strong sentiment among the tenants of subway line no.2.
Hongdae: He is a wandering teenager due to his unclear future. In fact, unlike the problem of being not sure about what he wants to do, there are so many things he tries. Those things change so often that he ends up being tired and deeply hurt. Being bright in everything, he acts as an atmosphere maker among the tenants on line no.2.
Yeoksam: He quit his job and is preparing for the public officer exam. However, contrary to his firm commitment, he is bound to fail every time. He fell in love with Bangbae at first sight, and loves her so much that he will stop drinking his favorite alcohol if Bangbae wants him to.
3. Black Comedy
This play is a typical black comedy. Black comedy refers to humor that satirizes dark subjects such as death, despair, and social problems. The play 'A Tenant on Subway Line Number 2' makes many facets of our society comedic. From the characters being called by a subway station name, not their own name, we can already notice that the play is a black comedy. They are called by the station which they came from with respective stories instead of their names. It is like their names did not even exist. As mentioned earlier, they have their own stories. People with different problems gathered in one place, including Yeoksam, who repeatedly failed the civil service exam, Ho-sun, who failed to fulfill his dreams, Guui, who fled because of his children trying to send him to a nursing home, and Bangbae, who fled from the assault of her alcoholic husband. The problems they have cannot be said to be their only problems. Characters who worry about their jobs clearly show Korea's poor employment rate, as if they represent those in their 30s in our nation. Hongdae running away from home because he does not have a dream in the drama expresses the pressure felt by young people in Korea. As such, the worries of all of these people are witty in conveying the overall problems of our society.
4. Mercy among People Found Everywhere
Humans share affection with each other. The play tells us that the place and the situation you are in are not very important to human beings. The characters in the play are homeless people who live in the subway. However, without homes and jobs, they still share affection. Tenants of subway line no.2 do not just pass by the crying Sungnae, but give out a word of comfort. They sweat all day long to find the missing Guui. As such, the tenants of subway line no.2 met each other just in the subway, but they treat each other affectionately through living together. In addition, love sprouts within line no.2. By doing so, the audience must have realized that loving a person may not be accompanied by any conditions. Moreover, since there are people who share affection around us, it must be a time for us to warm our hearts by watching various scenes of the play.
5. Everyone Has a Story
Looking around, most of the people look calm, and someone is even smiling. It is hard to see what they are thinking, or what situation they are in. However, one thing for sure is that each of these people has at least one problem or worry that they cannot talk about. Tenants in the play tell their concerns and worries to Ho-sun, who opened a counseling center inside the subway. Listening to their stories, the audience gets to know how they got to stay in the subway. However, not everyone expresses their concerns themselves, just like how we act in our daily lives. People can only make a guess through looking at a scene that shows one character's dreams, the character's habits, and more. Like this, not all of them reveal their wounds out of their mouths. The play tells the story of the characters staying on subway line no.2, and says everyone in the world has a story. The audience at the moment they watch the play may also be struggling with a variety of job opportunities, dreams, relationships and old age, just like the characters. The play will surely offer great consolation to those who have concerns deep inside them.
After the performance, the actors tell the audience to leave all the unpleasant things, worries, and concerns on the subway line no.2 above the stage. As such, the play provides both laughter and touching feelings by showing the concerns of the characters that we can relate to, and the process of solving them. Now, the audience who watched the play will be reminded of those characters whenever they get on subway line No. 2 and naturally have a smile on their faces.
Dates: 2019.03.15 ~ 2019.09.29
Place: Daehak-ro Batanggol small theater
Time: Weekdays 20:00 / Saturday 16:00, 19:00 / Sunday 14:00, 17:00 (No Performance on Mondays)
Ticket Prices: 35,000won (12,000won for students)
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