The director of the musical Yodok Story, Jung Sung-san, says his father was stoned to death in a prison camp, and that motivated him to press ahead with this musical. But it's been difficult.
He says the South Korean government has pressured him not to produce the show. It's attempting reconciliation with the North and is avoiding publicizing the horrors of the regime. One of the companies funding Yodok Story backed out in November 2005 because it was afraid of the South Korean government.
Choreographer Kim Young-sun says she doesn't understand why the world doesn't seem to care.
"Why is it that in North Korea there is a disaster going on, and no one knows about it? Through this art, I want people to know the reality of these prison camps. And the reality of North Korea's prison camps is that they are worse than Auschwitz."
This musical tackles the weighty themes of life and death, good and evil, ideological fervor and human love. And it ends with a Christian message of forgiveness and redemption, accompanied by the Lord's Prayer in Korean.
The director now wants to take the show to the United States. "This is my mission," he says. "I need to tell the world the truth."
[From “All Things Considered” by Louisa Lim, NPR News]