London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

쿠쿠 | Cuckoo by Jaha Koo

I know that at least one LKL reader made the trip up to Coventry when this show came to the UK two years ago. No need to travel so far this time: the show is in EC4, near Blackfriars Station, where it opens LIFT (London’s International Festival of Theatre).

Economist-turned-artist Jaha Koo explores the impact of the financial crash with three straight talking rice cookers.

Cuckoo reflects on happiness, economic crises and technological loneliness.

쿠쿠 | Cuckoo by Jaha Koo

Date: Thursday 14 September - Saturday 16 September 2023, 7pm (Sat: 6pm)
Bridewell Theatre | Bride Lane | Fleet Street | London EC4Y 8EQ | | [Map]

Tickets: £5 - £20 | Buy tickets here
Run time 55 mins
A man with three rice cookers

Three talkative rice cookers take you on a journey through the last 20 years of Korean history.

Cuckoo is a bittersweet and humorous dialogue, a documentary of sorts. Economist-turned-artist Jaha Koo sits with his electronic friends, three rice cookers. Together they discuss the catastrophic market crash of 1997 and subsequent national phenomena, including unemployment, depression and suicide amongst young people in Korea. This show combines personal experience with political events and reflections on happiness and economic crises as a matter of life or death.

The subject matter is dark, but there’s rich comedy in the wry observations, personal revelations, and of course in the concept itself. This is an account of deep malaise in which the storytellers show enough wit and creativity to suggest that there is, against the odds, hope for the future.

In Korean and English, with English subtitles.


Concept, direction, text, music & video – Jaha Koo
Performance – Hana, Duri, Seri & Jaha Koo
Cuckoo hacking – Idella Craddock
Scenography & digital support – Eunkyung Jeong
Dramaturgical advice – Dries Douibi
Technique – Korneel Coessens, Jan Berkmans, Bart Huybrechts (& Wim Clapdorp)
Production – Kunstenwerkplaats Pianofabriek
Executive Producer – CAMPO
Coproduced with Bâtard Festival, supported by CAMPO, STUK, BUDA, DAS, SFAC & Noorderzon/Grand Theatre, with the support of the Flemish Community.

Presented by LIFT as part of LIFT the City. Supported by the City of London Corporation in collaboration with Destination City.

Photography: Radovan Dranga, Wolf Silveri and Eunkyung Jeong.

Content Warning

Contains CCTV footage of suicide

주의: 본 공연에는 자살, 자해 및 폭력적인 장면이 포함되어 있습니다.

“As London revives and renews itself, and people across the Square Mile, especially those connected to business and services sector reimagine their relationship to work and wellness, LIFT invites audiences to encounter this disarming, insightful performance from Jaha Koo as part of our new LIFT the City series. It will give you a chance to reflect and think big on what’s important.”
— Kris Nelson, Artistic Director & CEO, LIFT

“Cuckoo is an educational and philosophical treasure, with hilarious banter between rice cookers… It masterfully balances the personal and the worldwide, the human and the inanimate, creating a unique pressure-cooked theatrical feast.”
— Montreal Theatre Hub

“Cuckoo is a heavy, affecting piece of documentary theatre that masterfully wields its multimedia for both dark humour and piercing effect.”
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
— Bakchormeeboy

(automatically generated) We didn’t review this event, but Medium did, here.

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