Busan English Theater Presents ‘The Clowns’

The members of the Busan English Theatre Association are proud to announce their upcoming performance of The Clowns.

Originally written by Kim Tae Woong, this is the first time his play will be performed in English and features an international cast of expats and Koreans.  The show is sure to be a spectacular performance showcasing acting, acrobatics, and live music.

This award-winning play  takes place in the court of King Yonsan during the 15th century.  Following a bloody purge of the court to avenge his murdered mother, the king finds himself in existential despair.  Seeking many distractions to stifle his anxiety, King Yonsan is drawn to Gong-gil, a young clown performing in ancient Seoul.  He appoints Gong-gil as leader of the palace clowning troupe.   However, it soon becomes apparent the King admires Gong-gil for more than just his performing abilities.  The king’s affection makes his concubine Jang Noksu envious, and she in turn seeks to destroy him.  Gong-gil must manage to protect himself and his fellow clowns from the dangers of the royal court, all while keeping the king entertained.

The Clowns is a fierce historical drama, but is not without it’s fair share of raunchy humor and slapstick comedy.

Jeffrey Schoenfeld is directing what will be The Clowns’ inaugural English performance.  A veteran of the Busan theater community, Jeffery is excited to lead such an incredible group of performers.  Playwright Will Kern translated The Clowns from Korean in 2013.  Though this is the first English performance, the original play was the basis for the tremendously successful film “왕의 남자” (King and the Clown) from 2005.  As it is still the 6th highest grossing film ever produced in Korea, one can expect the story of The Clowns to be fairly familiar most Koreans.  However, that doesn’t mean the show won’t be without its surprises.

First introduced to the play by friend Sangmin Choe, Jeffrey saw tremendous potential in The Clowns.  As one of few Korean dramas available in English, Jeffrey took it as an opportunity for BETA to bridge the gap between the expat and Korean communities.  It has been a tremendous challenge to adapt a beloved piece of theatre into a multicultural experience. However, the cast and crew have risen to the task, bringing infamous characters from Korean history to life.

Starring established BETA actors such as Chris Nicoloff as Gong-gil and Kerry Maher as King Yonsan The Clowns is a loaded with local talent.  With a production that straddles cultures, theatre goers are sure to experience an incredible journey.  It will take you head over heels through one of Korea’s most beloved plays, with plenty of laughs along the way!  

Interested in BETA and the making of The Clowns?

Watch Kelly Bryan’s documentary on the making of The Clowns

Location: Container Arts Terminal (CATs) Sasang, Busan, South Korea.

From Sasang subway station #227, on line #2, exit #4. Turn around when you come up the exit stairs and cross the street to the left. The venue is right in front of you on the corner.

Cost: Tickets are 10,000won in advance, 15,000 at the door.

Pre-order tickets by emailing busanthea[email protected] with your name, the date, and time of the performance you wish to attend.  Please list the number of tickets you require.  Pre-orders will receive an email within 24 hours to confirm their reservation.

Tickets will be paid for on the day of the performance.  Doors open an hour before each show.  

Watch the trailer here:

There will be five performances spanning two weekends:

  • June 27th at 7pm
  • June 28th at 2pm
  • July 4th at 2pm AND 7pm
  • July 5th at 2pm.

Author: Kim Tae Woong

Translator: Will Kern

Director: Jeffrey Schoenfeld

Cast: Kerry Maher, De Anne Dubin, Christopher M Nicoloff, Maurice Turner, Glaiza Macabali, Mark Zink, Kayleigh Thompson, Bokyeo Go, Lawrence Kent, Stephanie Shively, Nicole O’Block, Carrie Heeter, Erin Wuchte, Patricia Greenman, Aly Kitchen, Jenna Apollonia, Warren Na, Tj Kernan, Nicholas Sawatzki

Musicians: Juli Johnson, Eguelson Legagneur, Leroy Grant


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