Roberto Zucco # 3
The NTCK’s resident company (2/2)
We have spoken about how pleasurable it has been to be working with the NTCK’s resident company. Below is a short review of the actresses and actors who are with us in this adventure.
Baek Seok-gwang – Roberto Zucco
Baek Seok-gwang is our Roberto Zucco. We needed him to be magnetic, able to play tenderness as well as the most extreme violence, normality as well as murderous madness. Seok-gwang has all these qualities: he is a greatly intelligent actor, capable of quickly identifying what is at stake in each scene and to drive his character on an emotional and physical journey that has a logic to it. The greatest challenge, when playing Zucco, is to avoid reducing him to a petty thug who is stupid and mean, or to a tender character with, secretly, a big heart. Koltès’ Roberto Zucco is a hero, in the tragic sense: he exceeds other humans. To play Roberto Zucco means effortfully going to an unknown place, accessing a reality other than the one of the everyday, whilst staying close to the realness of the situations the character is in. In fact, Zucco is the only character in the play to have been given a name. Frightening, touching, unpredictable, mean, besotted, violent, loving: Roberto Zucco requires a great actor. Seok-gwang is one of these.
Kim Jung-ho – a Prison Officer, the Father, a Melancholy Detective, the Detective
Kim, Jung-ho is an astonishing improviser and clown. Every time he comes onstage, he is surprising, incredibly human and funny. It is a real joy to witness the craft of this actor whose real talent is to colour every line with a dimension it didn’t have on paper. He excels in playing stupid characters – and in the play, police forces are shown at their worst: each one of the policemen, detectives and superintendents is either dishonest, mean, stupid or depressed. This gives us an opportunity to work on scenes that are really funny, as a counterpoint to the ever-growing tragedy.
Mun Kyung-hee – The Girl’s Mother, The Prostitute
While most male characters in the play are represented negatively, it is not the case for the female characters. They are at once the victims of Zucco’s madness and of the general madness of the society they live in. Kyung-hee plays two characters in crisis: the first one is abused by her husband, while the other tells the story, in a striking monologue, of Zucco’s first murders, similarly to the messenger role in the tragedies of Antiquity. Kyung-hee is an attentive actress, who dives deep and with sincerity into the emotions of these two sacrificial characters.
Kim Jung-eun – Zucco’s Mother, Madam
The polyvalent nature of her talent and her experience mean Kim Jung-eun can play almost anything. In the most iconic scene of the play, Zucco returns home and kills his mother. For this scene to work, the Mother’s suffering must be totally credible: she is torn between the love she feels for her son and how much she hates the fact that she gave birth to him. In that moment, the audience must be stricken by Zucco’s violence as he is looking for military clothing, and by the panic that the mother feels as the scene eventually leads to her murder.
In a completely different register, the Madam is a sort of pivotal point, an immobile force to whom the other characters confess. The characters who come to her express their anxiety, their terrors and follies. Gifted with a great physical dexterity, a vocal technique that allows her to completely change character, and always suggesting beautiful interpretations, Jung-eun is also very funny.
Kim Jung-hwan – The Old Gentleman, The Police Chief
During the casting process, we were surprised by Kim Jung-hwan’s ability to show the Old Gentleman’s fragility, lost in the maze of an underground station. Fragility and old age, performed by an actor who is actually young: these are great challenges that Jung-hwan overcomes. We find him again as the Police Chief, in an outrageous duo with Kim Jung-ho’ nervous and restless detective.
Shin Wan-jun – The Girl’s Brother
Shin Wan-jun found his character in the first rehearsal. The Brother is at once violent, loving, generous, despicable, a hypocrite and a pathetic loser. It is always surprising – and unsettling – to find an actor as quick as Wan-jun, as it made us feel as if we wouldn’t know how to direct him during the rest of the rehearsal weeks before we opened of the show. However, Wan-jun doesn’t rest on his laurels and keep deepening his interpretation, offering gorgeous suggestions that we are lucky enough to be able to choose from.
Kim Su-yeon – The Elegant Lady
Kim Su-yeon plays the Elegant Lady, whose fate is to cross path with her son’s murderer. She is a complex character, profoundly affected by ennui, and who hates her husband. She becomes Zucco’s hostage after he has killed her child. As he escapes, she still wishes to follow him. An actress with a lot of class, Su-yeon gives her character complex mixed feelings and manages to show all of her character’s wounds. She gives this Elegant Lady a beautiful tragic dimension, as a woman whom everyone has abandoned.
Hwang Sun-hwa – The Girl
Often, the Girl is performed as an insolent little girl, played on the same two modes throughout the play: provocation and naiveté. Hwang Sun-hwa is one of those surprising actresses who manages to exalt a part, injecting her whole humanity into it and using a very diverse palette in every scene. This way, she transforms the Girl’s apparent naiveté into absolute sincerity; her insolence becomes a need to free herself from the constraints of her family, to join the love of her life: Roberto Zucco. Her trajectory ends in a brothel, where she ages before her time, crushed by the infernal machine.
Woo Jung-won – The Sister
Woo Jung-won is an incredible actress, impeccably attuned and sincere. She plays the Girl’s Sister. At once protective, frustrated by her life and her family, suffocating yet magnificently rebellious in the final scene, The Sister tells the story of a woman’s whose destiny is broken, crushed by a misogynistic society that The Brother perfectly embodies. Jung-won gives her character a powerful dimension, showing how perfectly written Koltès’ female characters are.
Ahn Byung-chan – A Prison officer, Bloke, The Child
Ahn Byung-chan is a colourful actor and a well-known rapper in Seoul. He is disarmingly natural on stage. Whether he is playing the Bloke or The Child, he manages to touch us or make us cry with laughter, simply because of his mere presence on stage. His performance as a falsetto-voiced imp is irresistible and his big hearted Bloke deeply touching.
Jean Lambert-wild et Lorenzo Malaguerra