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Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Theatre on video: a screening of Oh Tae-seok’s The Life Cord

Oh Tae-seok’s plays are always worth watching, and coming up this month is a screening of a live performance by the National Drama Company of Korea. The play covers a troubled period of Joseon dynasty history: the struggles for the throne in the years following the death of King Sejong. The story of the deposed King Danjong is a sad one: the method of his assassination is disputed, but according to traditional accounts his uncle King Sejo had him roasted to death in a locked room with turbo-charged underfloor heating. The the action in the play takes place just after Sejo had seized power from his young nephew in 1455.

The Life Cord (태)

Director: Oh Tae-seok (The National Drama Company of Korea)
Thursday 19th Feburary, 2015, 7PM (Running time: 83 mins)
Venue: Korean Cultural Centre UK

Life Cord production


Sa Yuk Sin, the collective name of Six Ministers who are unswerving in their loyalty to the dethroned King Danjong, are persuaded by the newly crowned King Sejo to serve him in exchange for their lives.

The loyalist Park Paeng Nyon’s father is called Park Chung Lim. When Lim announces that their family will shortly be executed, one of his servants advises him that the death of his unborn great-grandchild child could save the family. Lim and his granddaughter-in-law go to King Sejo and petition him to allow the baby to be born. When their petition is turned down, Lim explodes with fury and attempts to kill the King, but ends up being killed by his granddaughter-in-law. She appeals to King Sejo once again for the life of the unborn baby, and the King grants a pardon should the baby be a daughter, but not a son. She gives a birth to a baby boy, but switches the baby with her servant’s baby in order to save the child, while the female servant is left to accept the loss of her baby.

Shin Suk Ju, a colleague of the loyalists, tries to prevent any future conflict by making Wang Pang Yon kill Prince Keum Sung. King Danjong had wanted an alliance with Prince Keum Sung after killing Prince Ui Kyung. After which a servant approaches King Sejo with a baby boy in his arms, and confesses that the boy is actually the great-grandson of Park Paeng Nyon. King Sejo then realizes what has happened and saves the boy, naming him Ilsan.

Introduction to the National Company of Korea

The National Drama Company of Korean was established in 1950, with the birth of national Drama Centre of Korea. As the only national drama company, it has continued and succeeded the tradition of Korean modern theatre and also raised many important figures in carious fields. Ever since its established, it has always attempted to stage the classics and masterpieces of the world, to develop Korean original plays and to figure out a set repertoire. Through continuing tour performances throughout the nation and building up relationships with local governments, it has been holding south Drama Camp every year. World Classic Stages which began since 1986 was designed to introduce world most renowned classic to Korean audiences with highly calibered creative staffs and ensemble, and have successfully staged twenty masterpieces including ‘Bourgeois Gentilhomme’,’Uncle Vanya’, and ‘The Robbers’. Also, starting from 2004, it worked on to re-define and build up the major repertoire of NDCK, celebrating the 50 year anniversary of its history, and staged plays such as ‘Lightning’ ‘Life Forfeited’, ‘Forest Fire’, ‘Water Swell’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘A Happy Occasion of the Maengs’. It will continue to work on it and perform those plays as NDCK’s major repertoire. It seeks to open up NDCK a little more, and the research curriculum on our plays that was newly built in 2006, serves as a means to find out and raise young theatre practitioners.

To reserve your place for this screening please email [email protected] or telephone 0207 004 2600

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