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NTCK brings inclusive theater experience with ‘Scapin’

March 18, 2024 - 18:48 By Hwang Dong-hee
A scene from "Scapin" (National Theater Company of Korea)

The National Theater Company of Korea is set to present their cherished production, "Scapin" (Les Fourberies de Scapin), geared toward fostering an inclusive environment with what they term "open audience" performances aimed at providing a more relaxed experience.

Scheduled to run from April 12 to May 6 at the Myeongdong Arts Theater, the Korean rendition of French playwright Moliere's classic "Scapin the Schemer” is returning for its fourth run. The comedy made its Korean premiere in 2019 and had successful runs in 2020 and 2022.

A relaxed performance refers to a production where the ambiance of the auditorium and theater rules are more casual. These performances are ideal for people with learning disabilities or autism, or anyone who would benefit from a more at ease environment.

The NTCK extends a warm welcome to anyone who may face challenges attending conventional shows due to sensory sensitivities or developmental disabilities, as well as seniors and young children.

Attendees have the freedom to enter and exit as they please during the performance, with minimal restrictions on noise or movement within the audience.

To aid in acclimatizing to the theater setting, the venue opens earlier, and seating areas remain lit throughout the show. Attendees are even encouraged to bring comfort items such as attachment dolls for added psychological ease.

The theater lobby will be equally accommodating, offering a relaxation area on the 4th floor of the Myeongdong Arts Theater, available before, after and during the show.

For those needing additional support in understanding the play's content, scripts are available for preview, alongside visual materials presented with easy-to-understand icons, on the first floor.

Further enhancing accessibility, touch tours featuring a stage model are provided in the first floor lobby, complemented by audio guides accessible via QR codes. Braille is also incorporated into performance leaflets for visually impaired attendees.

A scene from "Scapin" (National Theater Company of Korea)

"This is another stride by the National Theater Company of Korea towards inclusivity, ensuring no one is left out from experiencing the joy of 'Scapin,' beloved by audiences of all ages," said a house manager at NTCK.

Lee Jung-hyun, who has played the role of Scapin since the production's premiere, shared his anticipation.

"I feel (a little bit) tense because there will be lights on the audience during the performance. (And I could see the expressions in the audience.) But I am eagerly looking forward to breathing and communicating with the audience. If I can see the audience enjoying the show in a relaxed atmosphere, I believe actors can also act more freely."

"Scapin" is celebrated as a comedic masterpiece by Moliere. When Argante and Geronte arrange a strategic marriage for their children, they each fall in love with other individuals. The quick-witted servant Scapin navigates the romantic entanglements of the two pairs of lovers in finding true love.

Under the direction of Im Do-wan, the adaptation breathes fresh life into this 17th-century classic, merging mime and movement into a vibrant contemporary piece. Live string instrument performances will accompany the show.

From April 12 to 15, the NTCK will host accessibility performances, with Korean Sign Language interpretation, audio descriptions, Korean subtitles and mobility support.

English subtitles will be available every Thursday and Sunday, with Korean subtitles on Mondays and Fridays, excluding April 14.

Following the April 21 performance, the cast and director Im will have a conversation with the audience.