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Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

In-Sook Chappell’s This Isn’t Romance gets BBC broadcast

In-Sook Chappell
In-Sook Chappell

Two years ago LKL thoroughly enjoyed the debut showing of a play by Korean adoptee writer In-Sook Chappell. This Isn’t Romance tells the story (not autobiographical) of a Korean adoptee returning to Seoul to track down her family. It’s a moving and emotionally charged play which is at times disturbing as well.

Chappell’s play has now been adapted for radio – with the same lead actors as the stage performances. You can catch it on BBC Radio 3 tomorrow night, 29 January, at 9:30pm. It’s been slightly edited down to one hour to fit the radio schedules. I’ll certainly be listening in to hear how it compares to the stage version.

From the BBC website:

Miso Blake ….. Jennifer Lim
Han ….. Mo Zainal
Jack ….. Matthew Marsh
Naomi/Miss Han ….. Sonnie Brown
Bunny/Waitress ….. Elizabeth Tan
Ajossi ….. Jay Lim

Director Lisa Goldman

In-Sook Chappell says:

The poster from the stage production of This Isn't Romance
The poster from the stage production of This Isn\’t Romance

“This story addresses what faces immigrants and asylum seekers when they return to the country of their birth. I was born in Korea and adopted into an English family. The inspiration for the play came on a visit back to Seoul. Unable to speak Korean, I was a foreigner in the country I was born in. I had lost my language, my country and my family. The sound of Korean upset me, stirred feelings I had as a baby that I’d forgotten. I met a lot of adoptees searching for their biological families, only communicating with them through an interpreter. I decided not to track down my family. Instead I spoke to some who had, then I imagined and wrote this play. On a visit to an orphanage, I met a little boy aged 4 who had been left on the street by his parents. If I had been in a better financial situation I would have adopted him. He was the starting point for Han. Growing up in England I always thought; What if I had stayed in Korea, grown up in an orphanage; would I have ended up a teenage prostitute or a factory worker? I had a strong sense of guilt for living a privileged life in England. In cross-cultural adoption, we rarely talk about what happens when the children grow up, what they lose as well as gain. The sounds of this play evoke emotions and memories, a sense of dislocation, of being thrown into another world; the alienation of hearing another language clearly spoken with passion and love, but incomprehensible and impossible to respond to.”

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