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Jersey City Theater Center presents "HAN!"

originally published: 01/23/2023

Jersey City Theater Center presents "HAN!"

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- Jersey City Theater Center presents HAN!, an intimate story of Korean culture told through dance and dialogue. The performance features an ancient dance under a neon light. A virgin ghost stares out of the TV. A baby left alone in an apartment meditates on the nature of solitude. A woman explores memories of her life in relation to the Korean concept of Han. The show is in Korean with English subtitles performed by Hyun Ju Baek. These events are co-presented by Jersey City Theater Center in partnership with Theatre No Theatre, Teatro Della Toscana, Polish Cultural Institute NY, Korean Cultural Institute and Korea Society.

HAN! will premiere at Jersey City Theater Center’s White Eagle Hall (335-337 Newark Ave. Jersey City, NJ, Jersey City) on Thursday, February 9 at 7:00pm. Tickets start at just $20 and are available at

HAN! is directed by Thomas Richards, theater director and former Artistic Director of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, Italy. There, Richards began as a protégé and then essential collaborator of famed Polish director and performing arts theorist Jerzy Grotowski, considered to have been one of the greatest reformers of 20th century theater and one of the founders of experimental theater.

In this presentation, our heroine moves back and forth between the ancient myths of “Gojoseon,” the era of her dead grandmother, her mother’s past and her own life. Three generations of Korean women bound together in the “resilient silence” of Han. How will she navigate the sea of expectations that life, family, and nation have thrown her way? Through her struggle to understand the complexity of her own Han, which ignites a fire in her mind, we are carried into a dynamic meditation that explores the no man’s land that exists between myth and modernity, as we weigh the relation between suffering, sacrifice, and destiny.

[Han] is not an easy word to understand. It has generally been understood as a sort of resentment. But I think it means both sadness and hope at the same time. You can think of Han as the core of life, the pathway leading from birth to death. . .” Park Kyon-ni (1994)

The creative elaboration of Han! has been ongoing for five years and include Assistant Directors Cécile Richards and Jessica Losilla-Hébrail. The credits mentioned above respect the present creative situation. Others who have made creative contributions to Han! over the years are Alonso Abarzúa Vallejos, María Constanza Solarte, and Tara Ostiguy.

Director Thomas Richards was born in 1962 in New York City. He began working with Jerzy Grotowski at the University of California-Irvine, and followed him to Italy in 1986, where he worked first as his assistant at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski, then went on to become a group leader, creator, director, and finally Artistic Director. In 1996, Grotowski changed the name of the institution to The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, because, as he indicated, the direction of the practical work had already concentrated itself in Richards’ hands. Mr. Richards, who holds a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from the University of Bologna, and the Ph.D. from the University of Paris, is the author of three books: At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions (1993), The Edge-Point of Performance (1995), and Heart of Practice: Within the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards (2008). Following Grotowski’s death in 1999, Richards took over as director of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards and together with Mario Biagini he is considered Grotowski’s ‘universal heir’. As Grotowski wrote, "The nature of my work with Thomas Richards has the character of ‘transmission’; to transmit to him that to which I have arrived in my life: the inner aspect of the work.

Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about important issues of our times through the arts. Co-founded by Executive Producer Olga Levina, an immigrant from Belarus, Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) produces and presents universal yet locally relevant works, emphasizing social justice and human rights.  Since 2006, JCTC has provided a platform for all artistic voices to be heard in Jersey City, with the aim of sparking meaningful cross-cultural dialogue that helps build a greater understanding, mutual respect and better communities in New Jersey. 

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