Have you ever thought about, or attempted, suicide? If your mind has ever considered suicide even slightly, then I truly recommend that you read this article.
Since 2003, Korea is disgraced with the highest rates of suicide among OECD countries. According to statistics, a total 15,566 people killed themselves last year alone; it shows that an average of 42.6 people commit suicide a day. Suicide is ranked as the fourth leading cause of death, following cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and cerebrovascular disorders. People attempt suicide for various reasons---problems with living, academic grades, and relationship problems. Recently suicide even seems like an ordinary death because it is seldom out of the news. But then, there is a play that criticizes the suicide rate in Korea. The play is called ‘The Killing Story.’
“The Killing Story” focuses on suicide in a comical sense, though it has become an everyday issue throughout the Korean society. The plot is as follows:
A woman visits the office of ANRAKSA (meaning Mercy Killing, i.e. euthanasia) who runs a suicide website. Her ID is MADONNA and she listens to explanations about various suicide methods given by ANRAKSA, who helps people commit suicide. ANRAKSA keeps telling MADONNA to commit suicide by persuading her that suicide is the best way to complete a beautiful life; she presented death by selling various suicide products to people. Even some famous celebrities and professional wrestlers received help committing suicide from ANRAKSA.
She suggests methods and products for suicide. Swallowing rice cake facing down on the ground is one of the secrets, and sky direct (falling from the sky without equipment) and shampoo (swallowing a pail of shampoo all at once) also works. ANRAKSA also introduces the audience to other ways to suicide---products that annoy the hell out of people, for example, the Harvard (a product that hurts one’s pride by bringing in a person who speaks fluent English). However, MADONNA doesn’t give the reason for her wish to end her life and she was still debating on whether to buy the product or not. Midway through the play, MADONNA’s friend BABOLEON(ID stupid Leon) appears. ANRAKSA then suspects the two friends and becomes cautious of them. Once MADONNA and BABOLEON find out that ANRASKA knows their secret, they try to kill ANRAKSA. As the play draws closer to its end, MADONNA asks ANRASKA if she wanted to die. ANRAKSA, the person who professed that dying is the best way to end a beautiful life, answered back by saying, ‘No, of course I want to live.’ The final words of the play were “Help Me! Spare my life!” These final words showed the audience the denial of people having an unnatural death.
Unlike most plays in Daehak-ro I have seen, “The Killing Story” made me think about the genre of black comedy in theater. The lesson of the play was the importance of life, and we learned it through comedic light on death. People who have watched the play must have realized that suicide is not an option for completing their life. “The Killing Story” criticizes not only people who attempt suicide but also people who take advantage of suicidal people.
The Killing Story is also a play where the audience can interact with the actors. This helps the audience focus more on the story and take more joy as well. In addition, the sequel of “The Killing Story” (“The Killing Story 2”) has been open since December 11, 2011; it is approximately 100 minutes long and shown at SAMHYUNGJAE theater on Daehak-ro.
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