On the night of December 31, The Sogang Herald visited Daehak-ro Human Theater to watch Hangover: the Beginning of the Game, starring actors Park Gyusun and Ha Gyung-chul. Once inside the theater, many people were waiting in line in front of a “hotel door” with the number 507 written on it. The mysterious door opened to reveal a cozy but somewhat creepy hotel room. The lights dimmed, and the scream of a woman echoed through the hall.
The Morning after the Party
Chul-hee plans a surprise event for his wife on their wedding anniversary ― a fake kidnapping event. Tae-min, an employee of an event planning company, arranges the scheme for them. The event ends as a great success, and the three of them celebrates it by binge-drinking together in a hotel room. The next morning, when he wakes up, Chul-hee finds himself lying in another room, his clothes in a pool of someone’s blood. He is told that last night he accidentally killed his wife and that Tae-min moved him to the next room, 507, since he had begged Tae-min to do so. Surprisingly, it turns out that there are two more people hiding in the same room. They suspect each other to be the culprit but are tied up in the room with the police all over the place. Who is the murderer?
A Closed but Open Room
Overall, the audience’s imagination was highly stimulated thanks to the tactful stage setting and its practical use. It was amazing that the audience could vividly picture situations that is occuring outside the stage, despite the fact that most of the acting takes place only in a single closed room: 507. On one side of the stage stands a bedroom door ― its interior invisible to the audience ― which in particular bears an enormous sense
of presence. When the stage is assigned as room 506, it is a place where the wife’s body lies dead. When it morphs into room 507, an unexpected new character bursts out from it, and finally, when it serves as Chul-hee’s house, it is a place where he blocks out his wife and has an affair with someone else. No audience saw what lies beyond the door, but they could easily imagine what was happening behind it by context. The same can be said about the front door. No one actually saw the corridor outside the front door, but it was not difficult to picture the police patrolling. This ease of imagiantion can also be credited to the performers’ skillful acting. The performance required much imagination, but the process of eliciting it was impressively smooth and natural.
A Cryptic Guessing Game
The stage setting also hinted the mysterious situation and reinforced the synopsis. For instance, the black telephone placed in room 507 is the object that everyone in the room fears and wants to avoid; the clamorous bell ringing through the tense atmosphere freaks them out. Tae-min is the only one who touches it. This alludes to the fact that Tae-min is capable of continuously contacting the very person who had put them into the situation, although it seemed as if no one knew why they were caught up in the situation or how to get out of it. The phone was a symbol of control, so to speak.
The play makes the most of its stage setting and props as well. Tension and foreshadowing spice up the already zingy storyline. It could be said that all those minor aspects throughout the play built up the thrilling story of Hangover.
The curiosity of the audience was continuously spurred, trying to figure out the suspect. Literally every character in the play is suspicious: Tae-min is an ex-convict, the strip dancer testifies that she was staying at the room closed off from to visitors, and the bar owner seems to be mentally impaired and is found with the wife’s underwear. There is enough reason to suspect each and every one of them. So, the audience could enjoy the experience of deducing the real killer throughout the running time.
More Than Meets the Eye
No one is free of secrets or strains. It seems that even if people are originally innocent, they violently bite off and betray others once they find themselves disadvantaged. In the play, the strip dancer betrayed the rest of the team by pinning the murder on them and Tae-min tried to incriminate his colleagues when another accidental murder took place.
But at the same time, the play reminds us not to hastily suspect or think ill of other people based on the way they look. Chul-hee looked like a good and wrongly accused man but, in fact, habitually assualted and cheated on his wife. On the other hand, the most weird-looking and ridiculous bar owner was an honest man who worked hard to pay his mother’s medical bills. And the strip dancer, who seemed so cold-hearted, was very devoted to her only friend who had saved her from being bullied. Perhaps the play suggested this kind of theme from the very beginning; the seemingly harmonious marriage life of Chul-hee was a delusion. There is always more than meets the eye. In a closed, narrow and mysterious room, a story of stifling deceit unfolds. This spring, go see the thrilling story of the best deceivers who hectically betray and trick each other. And keep an eye out for the stunning twist, too!