Two established actors Jung Woong-in and Ahn Nae-sang will put aside their lucrative TV and film careers for a while to appear in a play at Daehangno in Seoul, the country`s theater mecca.
The two will share the leading role in the encore run of "Mindeulle Baramdoeeo (Dandelion Becomes Wind)," which starts Feb. 13, with another actor Cho Jae-hyun.
Their reason for taking the offer from Cho, a veteran actor who is at the forefront of revitalizing the struggling theater industry, was simple. The play, an emotional portrayal of married couples, moved them beyond expectations.
"I cried so much by the time the play ended. I was surprised at myself because I hardly cry and often struggle with crying scenes," said Jung, who has appeared in such hit films as "My Boss, My Teacher" ("Two-sabu ilchae") and is considered one of the country`s leading comic actors, at a press meeting at Daehangno, Seoul, on Tuesday.
Ahn also said he was impressed by the audience, which was full of middle-aged men and women, who are not often seen at plays.
Jung and Ahn are not exactly newcomers to theater. In fact, both of them began their acting on Daehango but soon moved onto TV dramas and films through which they raised their profile.
Nonetheless, it is their first play in years -- seven for Ahn and 13 for Jung.
"I felt so burdened at first. I thought doing a play wouldn`t be so hard since I`ve done it before, but it felt awkward because it has been so long," said Ahn.
For Ahn, getting rid of the stereotypical comic and evil image that he earned from his role in last year`s "Wives Club," a TV drama, was another challenge. The drama made him a star but also fostered a lot of so-called "anti-fans" who hated his on-show character.
"I feel that it is time that I showed a different side to my acting and get some warm responses, not criticisms, from the audience," said Ahn, chuckling. Through his unique interpretation of the role, Ahn said he intends to make the audience laugh when other actors make them cry and vice-versa.
Jung, on the other hand, stressed his goal to harmonize with other actors while adapting to the new environment quickly.
Although already noted as a versatile actor, Jung said he wanted to earn a reputation for good acting regardless of the genre.
"We want this piece to become a steady-selling repertoire like `Guys and Dolls,` by especially drawing more elder viewers to theater," said Jung. The play has the potential to become more popular and enliven Korea`s theater industry, Ahn added.
"Mindeulle Baramdoeeo" will be staged as an open run at PMC Jayu Theater at Daehangno. Tickets are 25,000 won and 35,000 won. For more information, call (02) 766-6007 or go to www.idartscenter.co.kr
By Koh Young-aah