BWW Review: Yeshche Raz! Leap For Your Dream Once More, FLY LIKE A BUTTERFLY at CJ Towol Theatre In Seoul Arts Center
On the last day of your life, will you have anything you regret not doing? Will you regret not learning a new sport? A new language? FLY LIKE A BUTTERFLY, a new show in the Seoul Performing Arts Company's repertoire, successfully ended its first run on May 12th.
Based on the webtoon - or webcomic - of the same title, FLY LIKE A BUTTERFLY shows the friendship of a 70-year-old man and a 23-year-old boy. After being diagnosed with the Alzheimer's, 70-year-old Shim Deok-chul suddenly decides to go and learn ballet, his long-lost dream. His visit to a ballet company to learn ballet leads Lee Chae-rok to become his teacher. Chae-rok, a 23-year-old boy who does not have any enthusiasm towards ballet because of his injury and everyday hardships as a student is not happy with his new role of teaching Deok-chul. Deok-chul and Chae-rok begin to understand each other, and Deok-chul's sincerity towards ballet moves Chae-rok to regain his devotion towards ballet. However, the night before the big performance Deok-chul and Chae-rok were practicing for, Deok-chul collapses on the street and loses his memory.
During the show, Deok-chul's lines touch the heart of the audience. While suffering from Alzheimer's, he encourages everyone around him to pursue their dreams no matter what. 'It doesn't matter if my body breaks, because there was my youth when my dreams had to break.' As the show goes on, the audience can see clearly how Deok-chul improves in ballet, and his continuous passion towards ballet proves that your age cannot be an obstacle in achieving your dream. 'Yeshche Raz! (Once more!)' is another phrase that Deok-chul shouts out frequently. Despite his old body and the hard movements he has to do, Deok-chul repeats the same movement over and over for a better performance. How Deok-chul never stops trying encourages the audience to keep pushing themselves to their extent and try harder to reach for their goals.
The impressive choreography and strong ensemble that Seoul Performing Arts Company is well-known for is a part of the show that is worth noting. For this show, members of the Seoul Performing Arts Company had to learn ballet. Even though the period they practiced ballet was not that long, they still showed remarkable moves. Especially the part when Deok-chul, Chae-rok and the little girl from Deok-chul's past played by young ballerinas were on the stage together performing the same dance moves was really moving. The ensemble of the Seoul Performing Arts Company created another strong ensemble number again. The numbers 'What Beauty is', which is sung when Deok-chul decides to do ballet again after his accident that causes him to have a cast on his leg, and 'Yesche Raz', that is sung at Deok-chul's last practice before the performance are some ensemble numbers that really caught my breath. They are not only sung with beautiful choreography, but they are also very bright and fits well with the musical's message.
I also thought that the friendship between Deok-chul and Chae-rok was an important part of the show. During the first act of the show, Deok-chul is the one who leads Chae-rok to have more confidence in his ballet and to have more passion for ballet. However, I thought that the last scene of the first act led Chae-rok to realize that ballet that he is doing is not only for himself, but it is for more people, including Deok-chul who always told Chae-rok that he wanted to see Chae-rok on stage as a professional ballerino. As the second act starts, Chae-rok is now the one who encourages Deok-chul not to lose his dream. Chae-rok tries his best to keep Deok-chul's dream of going on stage as a ballerino and makes sure that Deok-chul practices enough so that he can do his moves even if his memory fades away. Two people, young and old, working hard for their common dream - becoming a ballerino - was also a part that was emotional.
The role of Shim Deok-chul, the 70-year-old who finds his dream again is played by Jin Seon-Kyu and Choi Jung Soo. Lee Chae-rok, the 23-year-old who is about to give up on his dream of becoming a ballerino is portrayed by Kang Sang Jun and Lee Chan Dong. With these actors along with other Seoul Performing Arts Company's performers, FLY LIKE A BUTTERFLY presented the audience with laughter and tears. I really hope that FLY LIKE A BUTTERFLY will settle as Seoul Performing Arts Company's major repertoire, and hope that this heartwarming story will visit more audiences again in the near future.
FLY LIKE A BUTTERFLY at CJ Towol Theatre in Seoul Arts Center
Closed on May 12th, 2019
Photo Credit: Seoul Performing Arts Company