Kim Tae-ri joins a women’s performing troupe in Jung-nyun
Clockwise: Kim Tae-ri, Shin Ye-eun, Moon Sori, Ra Mi-ran
Production on period drama Jung-nyun is in full swing, and they’ve found their titular character in Kim Tae-ri (Revenant) and main cast in Shin Ye-eun (The Secret Romantic Guesthouse), Ra Mi-ran (Cold Blooded Intern), and Moon So-ri (Race).
Based on the webtoon of the same name, the story follows Jung-nyun, a young girl in 1950s postwar Korea, as she follows her dreams to join an all-female gukgeuk, or musical theater troupe. For those that don’t know what gukgeuks are (a.k.a., me before I did some googling), they’re dramatic performances where women would play both male and female roles (think: a gender-swapped Shakespeare), allowing them to band together, financially support themselves, and break into the male-dominated theatrical space. That is, before government interference in the 70s forced many of these performances to halt, wiping them from the cultural zeitgeist.
It’s in that brief pocket of Korean history when gukgeuk flourished that our story takes place. It all starts when a traveling troupe, led by Kang So-bok (Ra Mi-ran), visits Jung-nyun’s hometown. Inspired to become a performer herself, Jung-nyun stows away in the troupe’s train bound for Seoul and joins them as a trainee. But it’s not all spotlights and applause for Jung-nyun, especially when she has to compete with her rival, the multi-talented ace Heo Young-seo (Shin Ye-eun).
Rounding out the main cast, Moon So-ri plays Jung-nyun’s mother, a retired pansori singer and single mother who abandoned her dreams in favor of raising Jung-nyun. I just know many tears (mainly mine) will be shed at the portrayal of their mother-daughter relationship.
With all this girl power on the page, I’m interested to see how this drama will navigate its themes of girlhood, ambition, and female solidarity in this unique historic context. Written by Choi Hyo-bi (A Time Called You) and directed by Jung Ji-in (The Red Sleeve Cuff), Jung-nyun will air sometime next year.
- Revenant: Episodes 1-2
- The Secret Romantic Guesthouse: Episode 1 (First Impressions)
- Queenmaker: Episode 1 (First Impressions)
- Ra Mi-ran returns to the workplace in Cold Blooded Intern
- Jeon Yeo-bin grieves for Ahn Hyo-seop in A Time Called You
- A love for the ages begins in new stills for sageuk drama The Red Sleeve Cuff