Hello, this is Jeongdong Theater. Today we have our actor and one of the main protagonists of our show <The Palace: Tale of Jang Nok-Su>, Jeon Jin-Hong.
He plays the role of a man who loved Jang Nok-soo, Yeonsan-gun. Of course, historically, the three were not in a love triangle. For more information, see Jeongdong Theater Blog Content, “Romantic guy or foolish prince? Who is Je-an Degun?”
Please introduce yourself.
Hello, My name is Jeon Jin-hong from Jeongdong Theater. Nice to meet you. Since 2012, I have been performing at Jeongdong Theater, and have played the main characters roles in Gaon, Ryeon and Dodam.
How did you interpret and approach Je-an Degun’s character?
Je-an Degun’s life is full of misfortune, a prince who historically was supposed to be a king but never became a king. However, here he is interpreted differently. Here, he meets a woman of great artistic talents, falls in love with her, and helps her unleash her talents to make her the best artist. But it’s also a sad and heartbreaking view of a beloved woman leaving him for power. In constract to my previous roles, this role required me to repress my emotions.
What changed in this year’s performance?
There are new and changing scenes this year. For example, last year’s version Jean Degun teaches Nok-su about writings, this year, it was changed to teaching poetry. In that scene, my eyes look at Jang Nok Soo delicately filled with love. In the second part of the performance, there is a scene where jean Degun visits Nok-su bearing bad news. The scene appeared briefly last year, but this year, it is used to symbolize the impending end of Nok-su’s tale.
What was the most painful scene in the play?
Since there are few dancing scenes, I concentrate more on each dance movement. There is a scene where I dance with a knife after Nok-su leaves. In order to fully express the sorrow, resentment, and sadness of a man who is abandoned by a beloved woman, I pondered and practiced a lot. As a result, my right wrist was slightly overwhelmed. However it was worth it because it is also my favorite scene.
How difficult was it?
When Noksu, as a prostitute, learns Janggu Dance, there is a scene where Je-an Daegun and the Janggu Teacher face each other.
Je-an Daegun dances just for fun, and the gisengs see him and notice hi fun clumsy side. It was hard so I think I would say the most difficult part is comic acting. Even after performing hundreds of times, it is still the hardest and most difficult. (laugh)
Do you have any roles or dances that you want to try?
I like the scissor play scene. The tool called tacky scissors is very new and I used it very well as a performance element. It is very exciting but it is also difficult and dangerous for the actors. If you do it wrong, you risk injury. The actors really worked hard to ensure fun and safety for the scissor scene.
How is the teamwork between the actors?
I’ve been on stage for a year and a half and all the roles are familiar. Rehearsing and complementing each other. Cho Han-neul/Jang Nok-su with over 7 year experience. The stage compatibility is also very good. Han-neul is also a very talented friend. I also often stood on the same stage as Lee Hyuk’s actor in Yeon-gun. Therefore, although in order to match our compatibility the amount of practice is a lot, I love teamwork because you get the opportunity to work on various projects together and learn together.
What does the personal Jeon Jin-hong like and what kind of life do you live in?
Just plain. I like to play games and play basketball and soccer. But honestly, I’m also crazy about my daughter. My daughter is three years old and she is so pretty and lovely. So whenever I have free time, my time with my daughter and my wife is my first priority. As a dancer I also do personal activities. With the permission of the theater, I sometimes perform with other dancing seniors and friends. In December, I will participate, as a talent donation, in a charity performance for North Korean defectors.
How did you become a dancer?
I started dancing late. I majored in computer graphics until my sophomore year and wanted to be an advertising designer. But suddenly I didn’t like that road. I told my father that I wanted to learn dance. At first I tried to do sports dance. I just wanted to look cool. But I wasn’t really excited about doing sports dance. I learned about contemporary dance for a while, but in the end my path was Korean dance. I loved the soft dance lines and restrained movements that are unique to Korean dance. As I started late, practice was the only answer, so I almost lived in the practice room. After graduating from university, I was active on the various stages and then joined the Jeongdong Theater in 2012.
Please give advice to your juniors dreaming of becoming dancers
As a dancer, I still have a lot to learn, so it’s hard to say that dancing is this or that. Nevertheless, if I would have something to say to them, it is the most important thing in the end is your attitude. It sounds cliché, but it’s important to know what kind of heart you come up with. Living as a dancer is not an easy choice. In reality, economic problems are the biggest obstacle. So your mindset is important. Persevering as well, a mind that never gives up, is the beginning and the end of everything.
A word for the future audience of Palace: Jang Nok Su?
We have performed up to 2/3 of this year’s performances. The best performers are doing their best to perform on the stage with the best inspiration and fun until the last performance on December 28th. So come join us