Trojan Women

Ong Keng Sen, National Changgeuk Company of Korea

© National Theater of Korea
© National Theater of Korea
© National Theater of Korea
The National Changgeuk Company of the National Theater of Korea does not only specialise in traditional Korean opera and pansori, its ancient form of storytelling, but also further develops the genre with international artists. In his stage version of The Trojan Women, Euripides’ tragedy about the gruesome fate of the women in the conquered city of Troy, Ong Keng Sen, a director known for his intercultural and interdisciplinary work, opens up new historical and musical perspectives. Inspired by Jean-Paul Sartre’s adaptation, Ong Keng Sen’s version also portrays Helen as an outsider: she is a Greek woman among Trojans, a European among Asians. Ong Keng Sen adds a gender-political dimension to the ethnic dimension presented in Sartre’s statement against war and colonial practices, and paints Helen as a cross-gender figurehead. In collaboration with the legendary singer Ahn Sook-sun and the young musician Jung Jae-il, he has created a form of changgeuk positioned between pansori and contemporary korean music.

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