BWW Review: Finding the Goddess in Your Life, THE GODDESS IS WATCHING at UNIPLEX HALL 1
With a title that may arouse a lot of questions about what the show will be about, THE GODDESS IS WATCHING successfully ended its 6th production. With actors who participated in the show for several productions along with actors who are participating in this show for the first time, THE GODDESS IS WATCHING created another production filled with emotional and stirring performances that made the audience think once more about the sorrowful past.
THE GODDESS IS WATCHING leads the audience back to Korea in 1952, when the two Koreas were going through the peak of the Korean War. A lieutenant in the South Korean Army, Lieutenant Han Youngbeom is called to go on a special mission with another South Korean soldier, Shin Seokgu. The mission is to detain four North Korean soldiers and bring them in as prisoners. On their journey back to South Korea, however, the situation shifts and the North Korean soldiers who started as captives of Youngbeom manage to steal the South Korean soldiers' guns and make the South Korean soldiers as their captives. However, the bad weather they had been in makes them left stranded on an island, without any means of escaping the deserted island except the wrecked ship they had been on.
The soldiers figure out that their only chance to leave this island is to fix the ship, and the only person who could fix the ship is Ryu Soonho, who suffers from PTSD. The North Korean soldiers do everything to get Soonho to fix the ship but achieve nothing. One day, Soonho notices Youngbeom pretending to see his daughter. Youngbeom tells Soonho that the thought of his daughter being with him makes him feel better. Soonho starts opening his mind up to Youngbeom after hearing the lullaby that Youngbeom sings to his daughter. As Soonho opens his mind up to Youngbeom, Youngbeom tells Soonho about a Goddess who is watching over the island and helps Soonho imagine that she is there. Youngbeom tells Soonho that the Goddess likes people who grant favors and asks Soonho to fix the ship. Soonho, believing that the Goddess will like him if he grants Youngbeom's wish, agrees to fix the ship. After figuring out that Soonho will do anything to make the Goddess like him, the other soldiers all act as if they could see the Goddess and make rules on the island to make the Goddess like them. As they cooperate to make the island look better for the Goddess, the soldiers find themselves lowering their guards and they become closer to each other.
As the story proceeds, the soldiers who first doubted about 'The Goddess is Watching' plan to make Soonho better start treating the Goddess as a person they love in their lives out of the army. Just like how Youngbeom acted as if he could see his daughter to make himself feel better, other soldiers treat the Goddess as the person they love and the Goddess becomes their motivation to survive this war and leave the island.
Known to Korean theatergoers as a warm and intimate musical, THE GODDESS IS WATCHING is a show that sympathizes with the fears and worries that a person might have, and makes the audience think about the 'goddess' that watches over them. Thinking about the person or the being that motivates us to be better and live on, the audience could laugh and cry with the soldiers on the island. Also, this musical makes the audience think about the two Koreas. After the Korean War, many families have not been able to meet each other because of the division of Korea. The soldiers who have been fighting for their lives as enemies change throughout the musical and show the more humane side of themselves, making us think about the peace we could have on the Korean peninsula.
This fairy-tale-like story that warmed many people's hearts just ended its 6th production on March 1st. I was happy to meet this show again after its 5th production in 2018 since I enjoyed this show then. I hope that THE GODDESS IS WATCHING will come back for its 7th production soon and meet more audiences and reassure more people visiting the theatre.
THE GODDESS IS WATCHING at UNIPLEX HALL 1
Closed on March 1st, 2020
Photo Credit: Yeonwoo Mudae