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In-Sook Chappell

Oberon Books

“Like all plays about North Korea, this one depends more on second-hand stories than direct evidence. But, within the framework of a traditional love story, Chappell makes a number of strong points about the hierarchical nature of communist societies, the power of the historical enmity between North and South Korea and the danger of a presidential preoccupation with movies and their female stars... a traditional-yet-original romance” –Michael Billington, Guardian


“Like a contemporary Romeo and Juliet, this is a tragic story which is only alleviated by flashes of bleak humour. Amid the details of horror, Chappell adds some nice symbolic moments, such as when the Producer teaches a young actor, when a starving worker gets a tangerine and when Celine Dion belts out the song from Titanic... Chelsea Walker’s fluid production combines brutal reality with touches of delicacy, and the four-strong cast are all good, with Chris Lew Kum Hoi, as Chi Soo, and Anna Leong Brophy, as Eun Mi, making a convincing journey from naivety to experience.”The Stage


“We have to be careful, we can’t trust anyone. But, in the dark, your thoughts are your own.”


Crossing military borders and class divides, P’yongyang tells the epic love story of two North Korean childhood sweethearts spanning three decades. Chi-Soo and Eun-Mi dare to dream of a life together in P’yongyang, working for Kim Jong Il’s film studios. But as those around them start to disappear and information from the outside world trickles in, the devoted Communists are forced to view their glorious homeland in a different light.

Written by award-winning, Korean-born playwright In-Sook Chappell - who was inspired by a childhood visit to the Demilitarized Zone at the height of the Cold War and by the experiences of North Korean refugees -P'yongyang is a striking new work that was shortlisted for the 2013 Bruntwood Prize Award.


In-Sook Chappell was born in Seoul and brought up in Essex. Now living in London, she worked as an actor and a model before turning to playwriting. She won the Verity Bargate Award 2007 for her play This isn't Romance.

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