Especially for @leetennant – a lecture by Cloggie in three parts. Otherwise known as the Scene Stealer post that didn’t get posted.

A literary guest lecture by Cloggie : Chekov’s famous remark applied to current day dramas.

Thank you all for coming to this guest lecture on Drama Staging and Set Design. For those of you who are less familiar in the subject, I will define all the commonly-used terms and put them in capital letters in brackets behind the definition so that the handouts will create a useful glossary for new students.

Anton Chekov (1860 – 1904) was a Russian writer of dramas and I want to explore how his most famous quote on stage design can be applied in the most innovative current-day form of drama (KDRAMA). Chekov said that if a gun is place on the wall in Act 1, this should be fired before the end of Act 3. Many literary theorists have interpreted this saying as meaning that every part of a drama should be meaningful to the whole. But I would like to show how this remark is really about practical stage design by looking at 3 kdramas from the sublime (BINGE-WORTHY) to the less successful uses of inanimate objects by the writer and stage designer (PD).

Chekov suggest that when an interesting object is shown in a drama, the eyes of those studying this drama (BEANIES) will be drawn to it (SCENE STEALER) ignoring characters and dialogue, and when discussions about the drama take place (RECAPS), the beanies will increasingly wonder when this object is going to be used. In the case of a gun, they will want to know when it will be fired and who will be killed. If this gun won’t be fired, the comment section of the recaps will be filled with beanies being dissatisfied (FEELING CHEATED).

The first item to study (WATCH) is the 2018 drama A Poem A Day. This is an interesting example because there are multiple cases of a scene-stealing object not being used to its full potential. First, let’s examine the shirt of the character Nam-woo with its logo. We can see that this logo (🐊) is used as a metaphor for Nam-woo’s poverty after his family’s earlier riches (BANKRUPT CHAEBOLS). The beanies watching this drama became so interested (OBSESSED) in 🐊 that poems were written and the relationship between Nam-woo and 🐊 was taken to be so important that the alligator became a character by itself and crucial to Nam Woo’s life (OTP). When 🐊 suddenly disappeared and reappeared without explanation (PLOT HOLE), this led to dissatisfaction (SO PISSED OFF) amongst the beanies, a reaction that the PD and writer may not have foreseen.

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    But the drama is worthy of study for its callous neglect of other scene-stealing objects, such as an important book of poetry. Of course, literary critics such as myself have highlighted that this is not the only problem with the writing of the drama but the discarding of the poetry book following an incident with a motorbike can be shown as an example of the terrible use of objects.

    The second drama is the 2018 drama Fox Bride Star. This has the most obvious example of the problems that Chekov highlighted back in the nineteenth century but that PDs still fail to take seriously. This drama introduces a high-quality inanimate object (ROBOT) makes it intriguing (SO CUTE), gives it a plot purpose (OTP SHIPPER) and then subsequently does not show the scene stealer ever again, making the beanies wonder if the object has come to harm or purely forgotten about.

    However, this drama does use other inanimate objects to great effects, especially items of clothing. In the illustration below, you can see how the matching angle of the berets and employee passes is used to depict that these two really are the OTP and human scene-stealers in their own right.

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    The final drama is the 2017/2018 drama I’m Not A Robot, which can be held as a supremely good example of the powerful use of scene-stealing objects. As the drama itself is about robots, this maybe comes as no surprise and the close integration of writing and set design alone is worthy of binge watching. The object that I want to focus on in this lecture is a weapon carried by the main character Kim Min-kyu, thereby making Chekov’s remarks even more pertinent. His baton is shown in the opening scenes of the drama (EPISODE 1) to make him seem aggressive and cold, as he uses it against the other main character to keep her at a distance.

    As a side-note, certain students of the drama have created a novel method (DRINKING GAME) to track when the baton comes on screen. Such methods can help in noticing instances of an object but can lead to long-term brain damage if used too often. Back to the main topic.
    As long as the main character is allergic to human beings, he carries the baton when outside. This transforms the meaning of the object from a weapon to a shield and ultimately to a metaphor for the main character’s state of health. Once the baton is no longer shown on screen (to save Cloggie from utter drunkenness), this is not because the writer and PD have forgotten about it, but to make clear that the main character is healed enough to meet people without his self-defence weapon.
    This drama is also binge-worthy for its powerful use of other inanimate objects such as a necklace and an umbrella, all scene-stealers in their own rights. Especially the umbrella is used to great effect to move the relationship between the OTP along (SKINSHIP)

    In all, I hope I’ve shown that Chekov’s remark about a gun can be applied to scene-stealing inanimate objects in general and writers and PDs should take note.
    I hope you found this introductory lecture to set design useful. Please continue to notice scene-stealing inanimate objects in future dramas and note their importance as part of overarching themes.

    Thanks for listening.

    Professor Cloggie

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      This was awesome!

      Lol, that alligator.

      Not an inanimate object but it does make me think of how focused some of us became on the cat in A Hundred Million Stars……at least for the first part of the show.

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      I should probably point out that I wrote this in the middle of FBS airing and I was truly Dusty & beret obsessed.

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      I’ve started to refer to INAR in my ToTM posts as that show I don’t need to name.

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        I could have added a whole paragraph on necklaces and robo-dramas just for @vivanesca but had to get it under 1000 words

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      Thank you, Professor-nim, for an enlightening lecture of Chekov’s gun analogies. As your brown-nosing student, might I suggest another well-incorporated (quite literal) example from a recent kdrama? In Mr. Sunshine, the stolen American gun made its way into the story line by the second episode and little bits of the storyline were weaved into the main narrative as a result of it. One thing that Kim Eun-sook excels in is storytelling and she rarely leaves a smoking gun on the table. Chekov would be proud. And he would have been proud of your write up as well! How was this not published?

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        Ally – are you that student in the first picture? I didn’t watch Mr Sunshine but I did enjoy the discussion around it with regards to the historical accuracy of objects used with the drama. Have a Gold Star!

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      I have created an MLA citation for the literary students to use when referencing Professor Cloggie’s lecture. Remember to change the second line to a hanging indent. DB won’t let me do fancy bibliography formatting.

      Cloggie. “Chekov’s Famous Remark Applied to Current Day Dramas.” Dramabeans. 3 March 2019. http://www.dramabeans.com/members/cloggie/activity/732388/. Accessed 3 March. 2019.

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      THIS DIDN’T GET PUBLSIHED??? I’M MAD. This is fantastic. I love it.
      “certain students of the drama have created a novel method (DRINKING GAME)” — LMAO

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      I was reading this all starry-eyed because it’s almost been half a year since Octobinar. I guess starry-eyed is a wrong way to put it, how do meth addicts look at people talking about how good meth is?

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        I think this is one of those rare occassions where being compared to meth is a good thing?

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      Thank you, Professor. I greatly enjoyed your lecture series ~ I’m so sorry that it was not selected for the seminar on scene stealers. I have yet to figure out how the board makes their decisions…

      Might I ask to use @egads citation to reference your work in my next piece? I think it will greatly enhance my argument on a certain point.

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