ISBN: 9781783193332
Binding: PaperBack


In-Sook Chappell

PaperBack (04 Feb 2016)

“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.

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781783193332
Binding PaperBack


'it was a relief to sit down to a play where you could believe in the characters and enjoy natural dialogue that you could imagine people uttering in real life... the focus was on emotions and relationships... The different fates of the star-crossed lovers and their eventual escape are well told with plenty of accurate detailing... Do not expect a fairytale ending, but do expect to leave the theatre well-satisfied. This is a play in which the human drama feels just right, even though the real-world setting is anything but. Highly recommended.' London Korean

'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

' In general, the productions at the Finborough are of a high standard. And P’Yongyang, a piece of new writing, is no exception. In addition to a having poignant script and excellent production values, it is incredibly timely... it uses a love story between two young people in the DPRK to remind us of the human tragedies and hardships which the North Korean people face... The script is written with tact and honesty... Overall, P’Yongyang is a poignant, timely and sometimes harrowing reminder that the excesses of the North Korean regime are not just newspaper headlines, that they have real human consequences.'