Following the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, actors and drama production staff have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting delays and cancellations of shows to prevent any further infections.
San Theater said that 15 of its members were confirmed to have contracted the virus as of Aug. 19 while seven tested negative and 19 others were awaiting test results. Following this, “Jjamppong” and “Cow,” plays concerning modern history slated to be performed between Aug. 19 and Aug. 30, were canceled. Sand Theater was the first performance group in the country to have such a large number of infections ― so far, the source of the infection cluster remains unknown.
On Thursday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 324 new COVID-19 infections nationwide. The cases at the theater prompted the cancellation or delay of other productions as two of the actors there were involved in other dramas.
One of the troupe’s actors confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 was featuring in KBS’ “Men are Men,” which has suspended filming as a result and the final episode of the drama will not air until later. Other “Men are Men” cast members who may have come into contact with the actor decided not to appear in other shows, including “Bare: The Musical.”
The production of the KBS drama “Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol” was also suspended as another actor from the group who tested positive was involved in the drama and now some of the show’s cast members, including those in leadership roles, are awaiting test results. Additionally, the production of JTBC’s “Just Comedy” has been put on hold after a makeup artist who did makeup for Oh Man-seok, was also confirmed positive for the coronavirus. Oh tested negative.
In addition to those in the acting circle, Park Tae-jun, a webcomic creator and TV personality, was confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19. He wrote on his Naver comic series “Lookism,” Thursday, “I rarely go outside my house but I was infected with the coronavirus. I am now hospitalized and trying to upload the new episode of my comic series. But it is not easy. I hope you will be careful of COVID-19 and take care of yourself.”
On Friday he wrote on Facebook: “I have no sense of taste and cannot smell. I have a temperature of 38 degrees on average. I cough a lot and have muscle pains down my entire back. I get chills for an hour per day. The most difficult part is that I suffer from dizziness during work. But I was so moved by the medical staff. They are so nice and dedicated. I will leave the hospital after being treated well.”
Last week, a member of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra tested positive after teaching a student who was infected. The orchestra is considering canceling its upcoming performances in August and September.
JTBC reportedly decided to stop all production of drama series filmed in Seoul and its surrounding areas. Netflix also decided to suspend all production in Korea for the safety of cast and crew members. Art troupes and companies are similarly canceling or delaying shows to prevent further infections or taking appropriate measures following possible or actual infections.
The Thursday performance of the musical “Ludwig: Beethoven the Piano,” was canceled Thursday, after it was confirmed that one of its actors possibly met with an infected person. The opera “Fledermaus,” and “Heo Nan Seol Heon ― Su Wol Kyung Hwa,” a ballet performance by the Korean National Ballet were also canceled.
“Hwajeonga: Spring Picnic,” a play by the National Theater Company of Korea, closed Aug. 23, five days earlier than originally planned. “Mozart!” a musical, had its last performance show three days early. “Red Pants,” an opera by the Korea National Opera, will be released online.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Arts Center temporarily suspended all exhibitions, performances, and programs from Friday to the end of August.
Source: The Korea Times