BWW Review: HOPE at Yongkang Hall, Doosan Art Center, 'The Book and Life Never Read Before'
In the year 1833, at a small house in Prague, Chezia, a young boy was born. Going by the name, Franz Kafka, this boy soon grew up to become one of the most influential writers in literary history. It was at his deathbed, the genius writer asked his friend to destroy all of his unfinished works. However, Max Brod, his friend refused to do so and worked on publishing them. Later, there was a long trial against whether one of Kafka's manuscripts should be owned by Germany or the Israel Public Library. What many do not know is that there was a certain female deeply related to this trial, Eva Hoffe. Based on this event, HOPE the musical shows a different perspective focusing on what the manuscript meant for this woman.
HOPE the musical discusses the trial that went on for 30 years in Israel regarding the ownership of one of Joseph Klein's unpublished manuscripts. Eva Hope Ivgy, a 78 year- old lady refuses to cave into the Israel Public Library's demand that she returns the manuscript to Israel. Her main argument is that she has received it as a legacy from her mother, Marie Hope Ivgy who has been given the manuscript by Bert Havel, best friend of Joseph Klein. The show looks back at the life of Eva Hope Ivgy and her mother, trying to define what the manuscript meant to the mother and daughter.
There is a total of 10 characters in HOPE, six principal actors and four actors as the ensemble. Eva Hope Ivgy is expressed in two different ways, one actor portraying her as the 78-year-old current appearance, and another actor performing as the young Eva Hope Ivgy. As the show has many scenes where it looks back into Eva Hope's life, the two actors constantly act together. It is interesting to see how the current Eva Hope reacts as she traces her memory back seeing the young Eva Hope reenact her past. The ensemble actors portray several different roles, starting from the jury, Jewish prisoners, and so on. Another interesting aspect of the characters is that there is one character named K. K is a personified version of Joseph Klein's unpublished manuscript and plays an important role of making Eva realize what she has been missing her whole life.
The set design of HOPE is rather simple, with one big set piece that makes the stage look like a courtroom. One interesting aspect of how they use the set is that some pieces of the set are movable, and the actors use these to express different locations. For example, to express that they are in a concentration camp doing strenuous labor, they connected four pieces of the fence to look like a wheel.
HOPE the musical took an important event in literary history and flipped it so that people could focus on Eva Hope rather than two countries fighting over the ownership of the manuscript. A woman sacrificed everything in her life to protect a manuscript that was technically not hers from the beginning. Maybe what everybody missed out on was why and what the manuscript meant to her. HOPE gives us an insight into realizing that the life of Eva Hope was only for the manuscript and she had lost the sense of her, that the manuscript she felt was burdening her in life was actually her choice of letting it do so. HOPE teaches us the important lesson of realizing we are the owner of each of our lives that it is our responsibility to choose the lifestyle we want to live.
HOPE, a show about the book that has not been read and the life that has not been read performs at Yongkang Hall of Doosan Art Center until May 26th. Tickets start at 38,500 KRW and can be purchased at the ticket box or www.globalinterpark.com. Check the cast and discount info prior to buying the tickets.
For more information, visit www.globalinterpark.com.
Photo Credit: RndWorks Twitter