Prisoners sentenced to death and prison officers guarding nearby is such a normal picture of a jail. The first impression of prisoners who are on death row is that they have probably committed serious crimes. The performance, Bad Guys, however, tries to illustrate that the prisoners can be rehabilitated and have the same emotions just like normal people. Developing a plot with the prisoners trying to allure the prison officer, Bad Guys makes the audience reassess their impression about the prisoners.
Bad Guys is performed in Daehakro where numerous university students come to hang out with their friends. The performance was launched on April 12, 2014 and it is an open-run performance. It is famous for one of the actors in the play named Jin Gun who organized, planned, directed and wrote the script for the whole performance. He has been acting in his own theater, Jin Gun Art Hall, for about 18 years. He feels very comfortable working there, so he basically has been putting his life in Daehakro acting in his theater.
The performance, Bad Guys, starts with three prisoners, Dae Sung, Hyun Tae and Shin Woo, talking about attractive methods to seduce a woman prison officer, Hye Soo. Dae Sung has been incarcerated for eight years as he is the boss of a national gangster group. Hyun Tae murdered people through contracts and has been in jail for three years. Shin Woo killed an entire family and has been imprisoned for 15 years. They are all sentenced to death but ironically they have also been selected as model prisoners.
Bad Guys can be largely divided into two parts. One part is about when they come out from their cells and talk about how to allure the prison officer. It mostly contains humorous actions and dialogues, sometimes even communicating with the audience to lighten up the atmosphere. In this part, the audience can enjoy and laugh at the scenes of three prisoners all trying to entice Hye Soo with their unique characteristics. The actors act with exaggeration in order to dilute the serious setting, a prison, and to show how prisoners can be jocular with each distinct characteristic.
▲ Prisoners start to change their attitude and reflect their past actions as their acquaintances come for a visit. Provided by mecenaticket.com
The other part is when their family members or acquaintances come for a visit. This is somewhat touching. Shin Woo’s mom, Hyun Tae’s and Dae Sung’s girlfriends come for a visit. Each one of them has different stories, but on the whole they all have the same message: hope for parole of each prisoner as they are model prisoners. Sometimes the prisoners quarrel with their visitors, but it can be easily seen that they all have affection towards each other. Shin Woo is frightened to go out into the real world since he was in prison for such a long time and is not even desperate about parole.
The interesting part of this performance, Bad Guys, is that it is a semi-musical. In some parts of the climax in the performance, the actors sublimate their feelings by singing. Most of the songs are gloomy but they hold hope in the lyrics. Through the songs, the audience can focus more on the story. Otherwise, it would have been quite mundane and monotonous when the audience just listens to the dialogues and conversation among actors. It is an effective method to grab the attention from the audience and make them empathize with the actors. The actors’ singing ability mingled with their outstanding acting adds an entertaining component to the performance.
Besides the singing, the indispensable element of Bad Guys is the appearance of a multi-actress. Multi-actress refers to when one actress performs many – in this case, eight – different characters in a plot. By changing characters, she tries to convey the most accurate and delicate emotions to the audience. Sometimes it is hard for the audience to completely comprehend the behaviors and feelings of characters when the audience is not in the same situation as the characters in the plot. To promote the understanding of characters, the multi-actress is right there for the audience. With her appearance, the audience can more sympathize with the characters and focus on the story.
Most of the people have imagined about prisoners seducing their prison officers, however, it has very low possibility of happening in reality. Bad Guys is the performance that tries to satisfy people’s imagination. Even though the plot itself is fictional and unrealistic, it is a preferable method to meet audience’s tastes. By adding comical components into the plot, the performance is set for satisfying a wide range of audiences.
The performance does not merely deal with humorous parts throughout the play. It gives the audience an opportunity to assimilate into prisoners’ emotions and realize that they are just the same as normal people in the society. By putting a prisoner number on each seat, the performance makes the audience to put themselves into the real situation of the story. Consisting of various facets and elements to entice the audience, Bad Guys is indeed a distinguishable performance among numerous plays in Daehakro.
▲ Hyun Tae is trying to seduce a woman prison office, Hye Soo. Provided by Jingunarthall.