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The Graduate, 40 years Young
[357호] 2007년 04월 20일 (금) Ryu Seo-hyun
By Ryu Seo-hyun
The Post Reporter

lmost everyone probably should have heard the lyrics of the song "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon & Garfunkel, the theme song to the film The Graduate. "And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. Heaven holds a place for those who pray. Hey, hey, hey. Hey, hey, hey.? This movie took the 1960s American society as its backdrop, and recently it has been turned into a stage production in Seoul. I think this is because it still has some message for us even today.

The Film
The Graduate was adapted for the screen by director Mike Nichols from the novel The Graduate written by Charles Webb in New York 1963. It is a coming-of-age tale. Dustin Hoffman plays Benjamin, a model student from Southern California, who experiences some disillusionment after graduation. He is seduced by a family friend, Mrs. Robinson-Played by Anne Bancroft? who is old enough to be his mother, during his graduation party, and then continues to meet her in secret for a while. But he also falls in love with her daughter Elaine, played by Katharine Ross. When Elaine comes home from school, Mr. Robinson introduces her to Ben. They soon become intimate. Then, Ben tells Elaine about his relationship with her mother. But Mrs. Robinson tells Elaine that Ben raped her. Angry and depressed, Elaine returns to school. Benjamin finds her and tries to explain, but she decides to marry another man. Benjamin learns of the marriage and charges into a church to rescue Elaine and they run away together.
The Graduate challenges the older generation's values vis-a-vis Ben. It expresses the confusion felt by today's youth as well. Mike Nichols won an Oscar for directing the film, and it helped Dustin Hoffman to launch his acting career.

The Graduate as a Play
The Graduate has been revived as a play. It was first performed in London's West End in 2000, and moved onto Broadway in 2002. The Graduate was performed from February 3 to 25 at Arko Arts Theater, Daehakro in Seoul. Many Korean playgoers were so excited about this show because Kim Ji-sook, an eminent actress, and Song Chang-ui, who had received critical acclaim in the musical Blue Saigon, were starring in the play. At the same time, the play's enormous expense of 400 million won, which was unprecedented in Korean theatrical history, generated a lot of interest because it was unparalleled.
Above all, however, the hottest issue was the nudity of Kim Ji-sook, who acted the part of Mrs. Robinson. The play attracted many viewers curious about her nudity. Actually, it was sensational that Kim Ji-sook, over 50 years old and one of the most famous actresses in Korea, exposed her body to the public for the first time in her acting career. Kim Jong-seok, the producer of the play, said, "Kim Ji-sook told me to follow my instincts. Without her courage, I could have not completed this work successfully." And he added, 밫he nudity is quickly forgot. Instead, it's replaced with messages that make you ask about the meanings of family and love. When the audiences leave the theater, they will forget the nudity and remember the message.?

Critical Opinions of the Play
<Mrs. Robinson> cigarette smoke bothered me at first, but it was such an exceptional play that made me forgot about the smell,?Park Eun-young said.
"The songs of Simon & Garfunkel are what I liked the most. The memories of 40 years ago kept running through my mind when I listened to their music. I lived over again through The Graduate,?Kim Sung-su said.
The above opinions were uploaded in "Talking about The Graduate with Shownote?of Cyworld Club after viewers watched the play. The play was more nuanced than the film. For example, it gave the audience a more intimate understanding of the characters than the movie. Especially, the psychological description of Mrs. Robinson was expressed more delicately. And also distinctly from the movie, "The beauty of stage" was added in the play. "I feel nervous when I hear the word "Graduate" because the word includes the mixed images of ending, departure, a new start, and palpitation. To reflect these feelings, I decorated the stage with doors and windows, suggesting a "border of ending and starting??said Kim Jong-seok, the director of The Graduate.
And he added, "The gap between ending and starting is a springboard of our lives.? Like his commentary on his own work, The Graduate deals with growth stories of ordinary people and their lives.  Therefore, 40 years after its premiere, The Graduate is still relevant.

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