|▲ Musical ‘Anna Karenina’ Kim So-hyun (Photo=Oh Chihwa)|
[Zenith News=Yoori Lim] "It's hard because I can't laugh on stage and I can't bring out the best in me."
The musical ‘Anna Karenina’ based on a novel of the same name by Tolstoy, one of greatest writers of Russia, has returned with a second performance. It is ‘Anna Karenina’, which was loved not only for its solid story, but also for its charming characters, musical songs that lingering in the ears, and Russian musical-like videos and scale. Actress Kim So-hyun plays Anna Karenina in this performance. It's a real surprise.
The Kim So-hyun we know has always shown off her presence even in the musical fields where actresses rarely take the title roles in the works with works such as, 'Empress Myeongseong', 'Elisabeth'. Because of that, beautiful voices and princess-like images are something that comes to mind when we think of actress Kim So-hyun.
Kim So-hyun chose 'Anna Karenina' this time. As she said, it was the choice that many people were surprised saying "Kim So-hyun is doing Anna?", but Kim So-hyun said "I wanted to show that I have this side, too." The reason why we want to cheer for her move, which has taken on a new challenge from her current position is because of that.
In fact, Kim So-hyun was an actress with bright energy that made even viewers feel better. Sometimes with laughter, sometimes infinitely being serious, Zenith News tells the story of 'Anna Karenina' shared by Kim So-hyun here.
|▲ Kim So-hyun (Photo=Oh Chihwa)|
Q. 'Anna' is a difficult role to play. Wasn't there any pressure to play the title role?
Of course there was. It's very different from the roles I've played so far. A lot of people said "Kim So-hyun is doing Anna?" I thought about it, but I really wanted to try it. I wanted to show the audiences that I have this kind of side.
Q. I heard that you lost a lot of confidence while practicing. Why?
No matter what experience I had as an actor before, this character itself is too hard to express. It is completely different from the simple story of living a normal, happy life, falling in love, and eventually committing suicide because of not achieving that love. It's very complex.
There are too many layers in me even if I say the same line. However, I didn't know that it was so difficult to express and deliver the contents of the layers inside of me to the audiences of the musical from a very long distance. If you just look at your facial expression, you'll be able to see it comfortably but you can't do that. I ran into a big obstruction. I myself have to understand the character to make the audiences understand and love the character. There was a lot of effort coming from those things.
It was hard to accept realistically because I live in a normal, happy family with an 8-year-old son. It's not brave for me to leave such a life like this, it's reckless. I thought a lot about it.
Fortunately, the director was a woman, she was not much older than me, she was actually married, and she had a child. In addition, she was a professional producer of 'Anna Karenina'. I talked about a lot of things from time to time. We had a profound conversation, not only about the inside but also about physique too. It was a performance that I couldn't do without communicating with Vronsky, so I needed to talk to my counterpart more closely than ever. It was a meaningful period of practice.
Q. I heard that the practice process was very different from other works.
It was very different but I liked it. It felt like passionate, infinite support was given to the actor's individual pace. It's so new to find out a lot of things by doing a run-through endlessly, but I think it worked well with me.
While practicing in Namsan practice room, I practiced on the floor for a few days because the set had to go up on stage. The director was practicing with all of the actors for the last time and gradually reduced the number of people. At the end, the director ordered a scene in which my husband, Vronsky and me, the three of us were meeting and again, she sent away my husband. Lastly, only Kim Woo-hyung and I were left to practice which I wouldn't be able to forget for the rest of my life. I practiced as if I poured out every organ in my body for about an hour. The director told me to do whatever I could, whether I sing too loud or act excessively. She ordered the love scene and 'Freedom and Happiness' several times without end. Later, I ran to Vronsky and hugged him, but I felt dizzy and I was about to collapse.
At that time, I thought, 'Why is she doing this to me?' I'd had a great relationship, and she told me a lot of good stories, but the practice of that day was too much and too hard for me. It was only a week before the opening. I didn't know what it meant, and I just walked on my own because I couldn't bear it anymore. While walking, suddenly the puzzle coincided with Anna's life which I had not understood. I experience such practice for the first time, but it was a practice I'll never forget. I thank director Alina so much.
|▲ Kim So-hyun (Photo=Oh Chihwa)|
Q. What is the difference with Russian musicals?
There is no numbering to indicate the location. The director said 'Why is the number important?'. I didn't understand it at first, but I was so free when it disappeared. At first, it seems like every actor had a mental breakdown. "If you don't tell the number, how do you know where I am?" The director said, 'All actors have to feel all of the space, so they have to watch which part is empty and where they should go. By doing this, they will get to know where they should stand naturally'. That was the difference.
And I didn't use the script from the first day. I had to memorize all of ti. I felt like I practiced backwards because I was doing a run-through endlessly. I found the system different but attractive.
Q. After a hard process, what kind of character is Anna?
She is married without love, but that part of her performance is omitted. So I tried to express it as much as I could when I meet Karenin. It would be persuasive to meet Vronsky and fall in love only when that becomes the base.
Anna is a person who has never loved mentally or physically. But I didn't want to express it in physical love. I rather thought that she, as a human being felt love and happiness for the first time. She loved it so much that she leaves her husband and child and follows her love in search of freedom and happiness. She thought Vronsky would do it for her, but it wasn't. I don't think it was hatred or pain. I think she realized that this was not her freedom and happiness, so she chose to die. I don't like to think that it's simply because she was abandoned in love. Rather than just being a bad woman who had an affair, she didn't feel happy as a human being before that and never experienced love. She went to find her way of life, but realized that even Vronsky was not the one, and so she gave up her life in despair.
Q. What was the hard part about playing Anna?
I try to keep myself from the characters so that I don't get stuck in them. I thought it wouldn't be hard, but I couldn't sleep or eat this time, and it was so hard. I kept thinking about it throughout my waking hours. It was so hard to control it.
It's also very difficult to applaud for this play. The actors receive applause in the middle and gain energy, but it was the first time we didn't have time for that. We had to lead the play to the end without even knowing how the audiences feel when they watch it. Anna doesn't die at once, but she dies gradually. Those things are too difficult to express. I aim to express and find out anything more by the end of the play.
|▲ Kim So-hyun (Photo=Oh Chihwa)|
Q. What are the respective charm of the two Vronskys Min Woo-hyuk and Kim Woo-hyung?
I was in two seasons of 'Jekyll & Hyde' with Kim Woo-hyung and performed the premiere of 'Dae Jang Geum' together. It's been a long time since we met again. He is so sincere and manly. We had a lot of conversations, too. Yoon Gong-ju and Min Woo-hyuk were performing, so I got instruction from Alina a lot while staying in the practice room with Kim Woo-hyung. He's a counterpart that is comfortable to be with, reliable and someone that all actresses love. He is so considerate that it makes Anna stand out. Min Woo-hyuk is random like a ball. It feels so different when performing with the two.
One audience said, "Kim Woo-hyung looks like a strong man who loves Anna, and Min Woo-hyuk is like a young man who falls in passionate love." It's a manly, strong Vronsky versus a vigorous and passionate Vronsky.
Q. What do you want to hear from the audiences through this performance?
'It suits you', 'Anna was so miserable', 'I felt sorry', and what I want the most is that the audiences cry together at the end. I hope we will cry together since they understood that much. Although I have played many works and roles, I was really tearful during this play. I experienced a lot of different emotions. I hope a lot of people will come and accept it as it is. It is not just an affair but the moral standards each person feels about a person's life are also different. Everyone will feel different. I hope it'll be a performance that gives them a lot of thought when they go back home.
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