The webtoon that single-handedly revived public interest in the all-female Korean theater troupes called yeoseong gukgeuk (Yeoseong Gukgeuk) – “Jeong Nyeon” by What Ireh It is US is the revolutionary feminist webtoon that is now getting a K-Drama adaptation.
For those who might not know, yeoseong gukgeuk is a form of musical theater where pansori it is the main mode of storytelling. It was very popular in South Korea in the 1950s, but became extinct over time. In yeoseong gukgeuk, an all-female ensemble of theatrical actors would take on roles of both women and men to narrate passionate and intense stories of war and love. These actresses gained immense popularity and love, comparable to that of K-Pop idols now. However, with the age of cinema and television, shiver fell into unfortunate oblivion. Disappointed with the fading of one of South Korea’s most progressive and valuable art forms, Seo Ireh and Namon were asked to take up the subject of this lost art for “Jeong Nyeon” and their webtoon ended up winning the 2019 “Manhwa” award. Award of the Year”.
Furthermore, the author’s desire to create works aimed at women is also well represented in “Jeong Nyeon”, which contains themes of gender expression, class struggle, queer identities, cross-dressing, misogyny and more. Illustrator Namon also shared that “Jeong Nyeon” was the result of fearlessly wanting to work on a project about women on stage.
“Jeong Nyeon” tells the story of Yoon JeongNyeon, a young woman from Mokpo who dreams of becoming a shiver actress and making a living for herself out of poverty. She meets friends and rivals alike, most notably Heo YoungSeo, who seems to be everything JeongNyeon isn’t. While JeongNyeon comes from humble beginnings but is energetic and dynamic, YoungSeo comes from an elite and privileged family but has an aloof exterior with a knack for perfectionism as he is constantly seeking validation from his family. JeongNyeon is slovenly and full of life but has an inferiority complex, while YoungSeo is exceptionally formal and proper with a superiority complex. If JeongNyeon represents innate genius, YoungSeo is hard work, and this rivalry is a story as old as time, but the webtoon takes a new twist that is not only gratifying but enlightening.
In addition to personal character development, the webtoon also looks at the history of the time and real-life issues that women had to face at that time, giving it a socio-political importance. Among these and other things, it will certainly be interesting to see the metafiction or “play within a play” aspect of the K-Drama adaptation, as well as the live-action performances from our esteemed cast.
At the time of writing, Kim TaeRi and Shin YeEun have been offered the roles of JeongNyeon and YoungSeo, respectively. Namon revealed in an interview with “The Korea Times” that the central protagonist, the eponymous JeongNyeon, was modeled after actress Kim TaeRi in “The Handmaiden” and fans of the webtoon are virtually casting her in a live-action dream adaptation. for a while now. This makes us all the more eager to see Kim TaeRi taking on the role of JeongNyeon in the upcoming K-Drama.
Furthermore, Shin Ye Eun, who is enjoying the hard-earned success of her glorious performance in “The Glory”, proving her mettle as a versatile actress, would be perfectly cast as the elite and uptight YoungSeo if she accepts the role.
“Jeong Nyeon” is scheduled to start filming in the second half of 2023 and will be directed by Studio N. While you wait, you can read the Korean language webtoon here.
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