Mostly my time management had been pretty cruddy during this holiday because all the things I wanted to see, such as musicals, I had been trying to organise so other people could come along too, but I quickly came to the realisation that I’d never get anything done that way, so SORRY to Leena and Hattie who I had originally hoped to see the musicals with but my time was running out.
I had the afternoon before I was to go and see the play, so I decided to take it easy and café-hop a little, taking the opportunity to go and finish the drawing I wanted to do for DMTN. I love wandering around Hongdae because there’s so many side-streets and hidden cafes and shops. For example as I walked I came across a café that looked like a hobbit home.
It looked closed though, so I didn’t go in. Instead, I found a little place called Cacao Boom that specialised in different kinds of handmade chocolates. All of their coffees automatically came with a praline, or you could pick from the selection. I ordered a chilli hot chocolate and it came with a little dark-chocolate leaf on the side.
I spent a fair chunk of time in Cacao Boom. It was a small place tucked away somewhere in Hongdae so not a lot of people just walked in off the streets, it was cosy. I finished the pencil sketch and began the linework on my picture before I decided I’d been there long enough and moved on.
Mostly after that it was just wandering about. I ended up in Mango Six for a while which is a coffee chain, and while I like independent coffee stores Mango Six had power outlets and free wifi so I plugged my computer in and hopped online.
Which is where I saw that Hattie had arrived safely!
She’s one of my best friends, and she took the plunge to go and teach elementary school children here for a year. I had known she was coming to Seoul on Wednesday but since her recruiter was going to go and pick her straight up from the airport, I decided not to go and meet her. We got in touch online and made plans for Friday instead.
After popping into Daiso for cute stationery to write a letter to DMTN I stopped in at an Italian restaurant for lunch and then headed off to the theatre Rebecca was playing in. It was right on the other side of the city to me, so the train ride was about an hour, but the subway of the station came right out into the building that housed the theatre itself, so I didn’t really have too much trouble getting there.
Oh gosh I always get so excited at theatre lobbies.
I love the massive displays that they always have for theatre in Korea. It’s hard to take a clear shot of one because people are always darting in to have their photo taken with it (I do that too but since I was alone this time I had no one to take my picture). When lobbies are totally decorated with the production being shown it always adds a bit more grandeur, I think.
Because Rebecca is an EMK production, like Elisabeth, we weren’t allowed to take photos, even during curtain call. For Three Musketeers and, in the past, Rock of Ages, we were allowed to snap all the photos we wanted during curtain call, but here I was asked to not even take photos of the stage.
I did anyway.
It's pretty dark but the stage was framed by all these different, smaller frames that had an eclectic collection of items in them and depending on the scene different boxes would light up, showcasing certain items that were associated with the scene. It was really cool.
With no desire to get kicked out, though, I didn’t brave anything else and just enjoyed the show, which was SO GOOD.
I had a good cast (though of course I couldn’t really compare them to the others) including Oak Joo Hyun who we had seen previously in the lead role of Elisabeth. Her voice is absolutely stunning, I just have no words. Oh Man Seok played the male lead of Maxim De Winters and while I don’t think I’ve seen him in anything else he was absolutely phenomenal.
The sets of this musical were gorgeous. The whole story has a very dark, intense vibe and the sets and costuming backed this up with a very monochromatic tone and dark, gothic decoration in the set of the inner mansion.
For those not aware, Rebecca is the story of a naïve young girl who catches the attention of a rich widower (Maxim) and they wed. After she moves into his home with him, the Manderley mansion, she is introduced to Mrs. Danvers the housekeeper, who had an obsessive love for the previous Mrs. De Winters, who died in a boating accident. Mrs. Danvers instantly dislikes the new girl, who she feels is nowhere near suitable for filling the shoes of the previous mistress of the house, and she is intent on driving her out. This, combined with the fact that the authorities suspect that Maxim may have actually killed his previous wife and are intent on proving as such make this a dark, twisted story, with some really intense and emotional scenes, and the actors played their roles superbly.
Seeing Oak Joo Hyun in the role of Mrs. Danvers was really interesting, since she played a role similar to the naïve young girl’s role in Elisabeth and this time she was the antagonist. The heavy, intense tone of her voice complimented the sweet, higher pitch of Hye Young in her role as ‘Ich’, the lead. Their duets were just gorgeous, especially the one at the start of the second act where the housekeeper tries to manipulate Ich into suicide.
Oh Man Seok was wonderful in the role of Maxim. The character himself isn’t particularly stable, since he never quite adjusted to the death of his first wife, and he is prone to fits of rage when certain things remind him of her. When Man Seok portrayed that anger I actually got goosebumps all over, he was so intense it was actually scary.
There’s a few parallels to Elisabeth that I noticed;
- The naïve girl coming into a hostile environment
- The powerful female antagonist
- Scenes depicting the housekeeping staff and their feelings on the new girl
- A scene delivered in a very similar way to Milch, one of my favourite scenes from Elisabeth
And a few other little bits and pieces that made me go ‘ohhh’. I never really wanted to compare Rebecca to Elisabeth too much, but when the same people are behind both productions it’s inevitable that there would be comparisons. My favourite song was the one with the musical’s title, ‘Rebecca’; it was so intense, and it was also the song that Joo Hyun sang a little more of at curtain call. In fact, each of the main three actors sang parts of their iconic songs at curtain call, I wish I could have recorded it because it was wonderful.
Oak Joo Hyun got the loudest applause and so she should, wow.
When the show was over I bought a souvenir candle as a memento, and I also got some EMK musical magnets and of course the program book.
Because I had read up on the synopsis beforehand I was able to follow the story pretty easily but I was also quite pleased at how much of the dialogue I was actually picking up. I really think spending more time here has improved my understanding of the language, even if I still have difficulty recalling the vocabulary when I need to use it.
This was gorgeous. If I had more time in Korea I probably would have gone to see it again, but as it is I’m just going to have to pester my friends here to go!