Sunday, July 01, 2007

The Enlisted Men and the Korean Characters' Turn

M*A*S*H Cast:

Privates and Korean Characters

Two performances are in the books but there are still plenty of chances to see the ECT production of MASH, including a matinee this afternoon at 2. A week ago a couple of privates and two of the Korean characters in MASH talked with the play’s publicity coordinator about the play.

Are you having a good time putting on this play?
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: One of the fun parts for me is watching the people get
into their characters as they say their lines, realizing what their lines mean and why they’re funny.
Andrew Lust/Pvt. Boone: My favorite part is all the dialogue between the general and
me. They’re funny parts -- lots of misunderstandings.
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: I like the nurses; they like to plot with each other.
Carl Soderberg/Ho-Jon: The play is written well. The television show has lived on
during generations and decades because it’s funny. This is a different show, so it’s not exactly like the television show, but they’re both very funny. They both have a lot of good one-liners. But they also develop really funny themes throughout. If done correctly our show has the potential to be hilarious and I hope it is.

What do you like about your own character?
Andrew Lust/Pvt. Boone: It’s kind of like I don’t have to act at all. It’s pretty much me…a nervous, clumsy, scaredy guy. Kind of stupid, but actually intelligent. It’s like I’m playing me. I really don’t have to act; I just have to say the lines that are in the book.
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: My character seems like the low man on the totem pole and
that relates to me with the play because unlike a lot of older people in the cast, I don’t know a lot about the Korean war. I’m the low man on the totem pole just in general here, so I can really relate to that character. He does the grunt work.
Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: Sohng is just a fun character, a fun person to play. PJ [who plays the other Korean woman in the play] has been trying to help me learn to talk with a Korean accent.
Carl Soderberg/Ho-Jon: My character is a challenge. I haven’t been on stage for four years. Coming back to it is kind of interesting because to portray a 17-year-old Korean boy when I’m a 21-year-old Swedish boy, is an interesting transition, but it’s fun, too. I like a challenge and I have a lot of time this summer, so I’m really trying to devote a lot of it to developing something that’s going to be interesting and can tie the show together and make it feel like it’s really in Korea. I hope bringing that to the table will be fun for both myself and the audience. The way I need him to come across is much like a servant, serving Hawkeye and Duke and the others on stage. Having that demeanor is something I’m not used to, so I’m still developing that. That’s another reason it’s so challenging, because there are so many different aspects of who Ho-Jon is that I have to try to capture and effectively show on stage -- that there’s more to him.

How do your characters get along with each other?
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: At one point, everybody comes together to help one of the
characters. They’re not family, but they are in a sense.
Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: It seems like they’ve all got their own groups and circles they
hang out with, but everybody will protect everybody else and you could go to any one of them.
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: My favorite group is Duke and Hawkeye. They’re kind of
mischievous and hang out with each other. They get away with a lot.

Aside from the outright comedy, what might the audience take away from play?
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: These are people who are great at their work and they may
want to go back to their families but they can’t because they’re so good at what they do. You don’t see the families back home that are missing them. It was probably really tough to be gone for that long.

Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: It shows you just have to do what you have to do.
Carl Soderberg/Ho-Jon: It’s easier to go on stage and have a gag and have people laugh and clap. The more difficult thing is doing the themes that are underlying. One of the themes is the friendships that have developed among everyone there and the Koreans, the camaraderie that’s developed during this really serious time. They can take lightly that they’re medical surgeons in the middle of the war. They’re saving lives, but at the same time they’re able to maintain that sense of humor that’s really necessary. If you can’t laugh, it’s going to be tough going.

Why do you think people will enjoy this play?
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: To see someone you know up on stage is always fun to see
how they do. If you’ve grown up watching the TV show, or read the book, or seen the movie -- I always like to see how other people interpret it or would put the show on. Our main attraction is going to be the people who grew up watching the show, who know more about the Korean War, not just in a history book.
Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: I think if anybody comes to see it, they’ll like it. You don’t have to know anything about it. I haven’t seen it on TV.
Carl Soderberg/Ho-Jon: I would tell everybody to come see it because it is going to be
funny, but also because you’re really going to feel connected to the show. By the time it’s over, you’re really going to feel like you’ve experienced a sense of what it’s like to be part of the Korean war.

How is this experience going for you?
Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: This is the first time I’ve been on stage. It’s going good. I need
a lot of help, but it’s fun.
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: She’s really come out of her shell.
Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: I’ve heard that a couple times!
Andrew Lust/Pvt. Boone: I’m a veteran here doing plays. I’ve been in musicals and plays for the past 6 years.
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: This is my fifth show that I’ve at least helped with. Last year with The Beverly Hillbillies I had a lot of fun with it. It’s different with an all high school cast which I’m used to. They talk about school most of the time. This is a good mix of adults and younger people, because you go to the adults for help about what the setting was or how someone would act in that time. Then they come to you because they don’t know where the green room is or to ask what we have in the prop shop. It’s a give and take on both sides and that’s something really special for the show.

Why do you think people will enjoy this play?
Andrew Lust/Pvt. Boone: It’s in the middle of the summer and there’s air conditioning in there. And my house doesn’t have it, so…
Tyler Franklin/Pvt. Lopez: Mine doesn’t either! It’s a fun family show.
Chelsea Lezotte/Sohng: They won’t walk away and think it’s a waste of time. They’ll
have fun if they come watch it.


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