The Korea Herald


Jeon Do-yeon, Park Hae-soo to star in Simon Stone's play 'Cherry Orchard'

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Feb. 21, 2024 - 14:26

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Jeon Do-yeon (left) and Park Hae-soo (Management Soop, BH Entertainment) Jeon Do-yeon (left) and Park Hae-soo (Management Soop, BH Entertainment)

Renowned South Korean actor Jeon Do-yeon, who is a familiar face from both TV and film, is returning to the theatrical stage after 27 years, taking on a leading role in the play "The Cherry Orchard.”

World-renowned Australian director Simon Stone will helm the production, which is slated to run from June 4 to July 7 at the LG Art Center in Seoul. Stone has collaborated with prestigious theaters such as the National Theatre in London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Jeon will be joined by actor Park Hae-soo in the Korean adaptation of Anton Chekhov's classic play, reimagined within a Korean context. Originally set at the turn of the 20th century, contrasts the fate of the declining aristocracy with that of the rising middle class.

The two actors will bring their modernized portrayals of the original characters, Lyuba Ranevsky and the pragmatic merchant Yermolay Lopakhin, to the stage as one cast throughout the month-long schedule.

With her return to theater, Jeon marks a significant moment in her career, as her last stage appearance was in 1997's "The Taming of Rita." She has been active in films and dramas, earning accolades such as the best actress at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 for her role in Lee Chang-dong's "Secret Sunshine," becoming the first Korean ever to receive an acting award at Cannes.

Park Hae-soo, known for his roles in global hits like Netflix's "Squid Game," "Money Heist," and "Narco-Saints," previously showcased his theatrical prowess as Mephisto in the play "Faust" under the direction of Yang Jung-ung, alongside actor Yoo In-chon, (now a culture minister) last year.

Joining Jeon and Park on stage are ten other actors, including Son Sang-gyu, Choi Hee-seo, Lee Ji-hye, Nam Yoon-ho from the film "12.12: The Day," Yoo Byeong-hoon, and Park Yoo-rim from Netflix's "Ballerina," Lee Se-jun, and Lee Joo-won.

Stone, who has collaborated with theaters like the National Theatre in London and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, expressed his interest in Korean culture.

"My favorite thing to do in my spare time is to watch Korean movies and TV shows and I’ve always wanted to work with Korean actors,” said Stone in an interview video released by LG Art Center.

“There’s something that Korean actors have that moves between comedy and tragedy effortlessly. … That’s why I always wanted to come and do a show here. In my work, it’s very important to be light and relatable to the audience, keep the audience laughing which makes the tragedy much harder to deal with when it comes because it’s a surprise.”

Having visited Korea for preliminary discussions in the fall of 2022 and returning in January 2023, Stone conducted a week-long workshop with the cast to outline the characters.

Tickets for the play are currently on sale, with the second round of ticket sales scheduled to open in April.