Rich Sharp Wilson Previews: One Day, Maybe: A Korean Odyssey

The 18th of May 1980, marks one of the most infamous periods of modern Korean history, known as the Gwangju Uprising. What started as a student revolt against the martial law imposed by General Chun Doo Hwan, since the coup d’état that toppled the dictator Park Chung Hee. The Korean military were sent in to quash the student protests, and over the next 10 days some 600+ people were massacred by the military, as they put down the uprising. The events of Gwangju would eventually lead to democracy coming to South Korea. Why am I giving you a brief lesson of a moment in Korean history? Because it was the turning point for Koreans, which would lead them to become the most technologically advanced nation on the planet.

I lived in South Korea for almost 7 years, an experience that changed me forever. Not because I was a stranger in a strange land, but a stranger in one of the strangest of lands. Like living in the past, the present and the future all at once. All the while riding in a taxi decked out like a nori bang (A Korean “singing room”, their version of karaoke) flying along at breakneck speed down an 8 lane highway, as jumbotrons flash surreal adverts at you from neon festooned high-rise buildings. Like living inside a VR version of Blade Runner on a non-stop acid trip. That is what South Korea is like, and that is what the latest show from site responsive Theatre company dreamthinkspeak promises to be. Commissioned by Hull UK City of Culture 2017. One Day, Maybe invites audiences to enter a kaleidoscopic dreamworld where live performance, installation and new technology combine to create a vivid vision of the past, present and future.

 

Inspired by the Korean May 1980 Democratic Uprising, One Day, Maybe centres on the UK launch of a Korean global technology company on the 30th anniversary of the Korean Sixth Republic, which came about 7 years after the Gwangju Uprising. The company pioneers and develops a range of new technologies for international governments and multinational commercial organisations, including gaming experiences and interior navigation apps.

For each performance, the company will throw open its doors to the general public. The audience is invited to access the public areas as well as the private offices and laboratories where they are allowed to test and participate in the technologies that are being developed. It shines a light on the brutal interrogations that followed the Gwangju Uprising, but is set largely in the present day and looks at the modern world we all inhabit from the perspective of May 1980, imagining those who died as spirits who return to witness the results of their sacrifice. As the audience is drawn deeper into the labyrinthine technological world they have entered, they find themselves slipping between past, present and future, tumbling back to the aftermath of May 1980 before stumbling forward towards a bright but uncertain future.

Artistic Director Tristan Sharps leads a company of over 30 Korean performers and 50 collaborators to create a multi-layered series of audience journeys, mixing live performance with film and installation, ranging from pioneering technology to ancient ritual.

One Day, Maybe is a site responsive work. You will be amongst a small group of people, walking through the performance in a multi-storey building. Please note, you will be asked to remove your footwear for a short period during your stay. Just as Korean tradition dictates.

 

Book your place here