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SNU Foreign Languages Drama Festival 2015

  • September 30, 2015
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At the beginning of every fall semester at Seoul National University, the College of Humanities holds a drama festival showcasing plays adapted, directed and acted by students. The SNU Foreign Languages Drama Festival, reaching its 19th anniversary this year, is the biggest annual event at the College of Humanities and is jointly conducted by its six foreign language and literature departments: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

This year's drama festival was held between September 1 to 18 at the Student Center Lounge and the Dure Cultural Center. Every season, the festival stages an average of four performances per department, with a total of about 250 staff and 3,000 audience members.

The SNU drama festival officially commenced for the first time in 1997, but some departments have been performing foreign language plays ever since long before. For instance, Professor HONG KiSun, the dean of the Department of English Language and Literature, explained that the first English language drama event was organized by the Class of 1962. Starting this year, the department of Asian Languages and Civilizations has also joined the festival with the Japanese play"The Love Suicides at Sonezaki" by Chikamatsu Monzaemon.

Students are practicing for the foreign language drama festival
Students are practicing for the foreign language drama festival

Preparations for the event usually begin in late June, after the end of the spring semester. Participating students must carry out many different tasks in order to produce dramas that are well known for their dedication and passion. Aside from casting actors and recruiting staff members to help out behind the scenes, the directing crew goes through a careful process of selecting appropriate literary works written in each of the foreign languages. If necessary, the crew makes adaptations to the original work, as this year's German drama team did with the novella"The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka to turn it into a more suitable material for a play performance.

After the scripts have been finalized, actors receive intensive training during which they perfect their pronunciation as well as emotional expression. Especially because actors are performing in foreign languages, they must put in extra effort to learn their lines by heart. Meanwhile, the rest of the staff takes complete charge over costumes, makeup, decorations and props. Since their budget is not much, the staff tries to reuse what they already have."I even took classes outside of school to learn proper theatrical makeup," said WOO Seung Hee (Department of English Language and Literature), the makeup artist for her department. As all the preparations come to the end, the public relations team promotes each of the plays so as to attract the audience.

Although the plays are mostly arranged by students from foreign language departments of the College of Humanities, anyone willing to learn and practice using the language is welcome to participate. But within the College of Humanities, the Foreign Languages Drama Festival serves to bring together the Humanities departments under a common theme by developing unique campus culture."The festival gives each department an opportunity to promote themselves and allows students to explore different majors and feel a sense of belonging," expressed CHOI Jiwon (Department of English Language and Literature), a former chief organizer of the festival.

Especially because staging the plays is not restricted to the College of Humanities, the Foreign Languages Drama Festival is also becoming an annual event that anyone in the entire SNU community can enjoy.

The details on the SNU Foreign Languages Drama Festival 2015 are as below:

SNU Foreign Languages Drama Festival 2015
Department Title of Work Author
French Language &Literature Jacques and His Master (Jacques et son maître) Milan Kundera
German Language &Literature The Metamorphosis (Die Verwandlung) Franz Kafka
Chinese Language &Literature Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (许三观卖血记) Yú Huá
Spanish Language &Literature Seven Screams in the Ocean (Siete gritos en el mar) Alejandro Casona
Russian Language &Literature Stars in the Morning Sky Alexander Galin
English Language &Literature A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare
Asian Languages and Civilizations The Love Suicides at Sonezaki (曾根崎心中) Chikamatsu Monzaemon

Written by YOON Jiwon, SNU English Editor, jiwonyoon@snu.ac.kr
Reviewed by Eli Park Sorensen, SNU Professor of Liberal Studies, eps7257@snu.ac.kr

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