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“The King’s Language” — Extended at Sacred Fools, Second Stage

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Hollywood Fringe Festival 2017By Ernest Kearney — The King’s Language revolves around a number of my favorite things: history, honest theatrics, books, politics, cultural music and — well, language.

Writer/director Chris Yejin, using traditional music and storytelling devices, has presented the Fringe with an entertaining and intelligent little history lesson of King Sejong (1397 – 1450) who ruled Korea for 42 years.

Like the 2005 Korean film King and the Clown and like King Lear, in this work wisdom is gained by listening to the “Fool.”

Fringe 2017 - King's Language

Junesoo Ham

King Sejong (Junesoo Ham) is a ruler concerned with improving his land and people thru knowledge.  But the illiteracy of his people frustrates all his efforts, which the officials of his court (Victor Chi and Amy Shu) assure him this is only proof that the people are lazy and stupid.  However a street entertainer and storyteller Zoë Kim, who also serves as the work’s framing device, tells the King the truth; that the language system, imported from China with the complexity of its thousands of characters, is impossible for the people to learn when all their waking hours are given over to labor just to survive.

“You should be able to write the sound of the wind,” Sejong states and to that begins work on his greatest contribution to Korean history, the “hangul; a phonetic alphabet of twenty-eight letters which were drawn as diagrams of the position of the mouth, teeth and tongue required to make the sounds of each syllabic blocks.  The intention was to make the alphabet easy enough to master with only hours of study and thus put learning within the grasp of all the classes of Korean society.

Yejin’s compact little piece is full of nuggets drawn from her cultural history

(“Every official should fear the judgment of heaven and his people.”),

Platinum Medal

but also serves as a stern reminder to our present culture on the necessity of education for any society as the tale’s storyteller looks out at a supposed knowledgeable and literate audience to end the presentation with,

“You’re all kings, aren’t you?”

Were that but the case.

To Yejin and her cast, for both entertaining and warning us a PLATINUM MEDAL.

 

♦    ♦    ♦

 

The King’s Language

A Hollywood Fringe Festival Encore Award Winner!

Extension Dates

June 20, 2017 @ 7:30 pm
July 2, 2017 @ 5:30 pm

at

Sacred Fools — Second Stage
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038

For Tickets and Additional Information:

hff17.com/4503

 


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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, Among the Vipers was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist three times in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. After a wild and misspent youth, which lasted well into middle age, Kearney has settled down and is focusing on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. Ernest's stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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