21 March 2008

향단전 Legend of Hyang Dan

Title: 향단전 Hyang Dan Jeon
English Title:
  • Hyang Dan Story
  • Legend of Hyang Dan
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2007
Episode: 02
  • 서지혜 Seo Ji Hye
  • 최시원 Choi Si Won
  • 이지수 Lee Ji Soo
  • 허정민 Heo Jung Min
  • 방은희 Bang Eun Hee

국악 세 쌍둥이 Infinity of Sound (IS) - 자연스러워 (It’s Natural)
국악 세 쌍둥이 Infinity of Sound (IS) - 고무줄놀이 (Playing with Rubber Bands)
Hyang Dan works as Sung Chun Hyang's personal maid. While her mistresses are away, she tries on Chun Hyang's clothes. Lee Mong Ryong sneaks into Chun Hyang's house because the authorities are after him.

Mong Ryong, a magistrate's son, is part of a gang who steals from the idle rich and distributes the stolen loot to the poor. Hyang Dan helps him escape the authorities because she believes in their cause.

Mong Ryong likes Hyang Dan and she also likes him. But Chun Hyang also likes Mong Ryong and Wool Mae, Chun Hyang's mother, wants Mong Ryong as a son-in-law.

Mong Ryong asks Hyang Dan to marry him but she says it is impossible. Mong Ryong then strikes a deal with her; if he tops the civil service examinations, Hyang Dan will marry him.

국악 세 쌍둥이 Infinity of Sound (IS) - 줄리엣 (Juliet)
국악 세 쌍둥이 Infinity of Sound (IS) - 미로 (Labyrinth)
Legend of Hyang Dan is a pretty interesting take on a Korean folk tale. Lee Mong Ryong and Sung Chun Hyang are the ill-fated lovers in the actual folk tale but the drama explores the possibility that Mong Ryong and Hyang Dan, Chun Hyang's maid, are meant for each other.

There are several aspects of the drama's presentation that Koreans, or those knowledgeable about Korean literature, would find extra amusing as it apparently showcases several key scenes in some popular Korean folk tales. The drama is very entertaining, and I enjoyed it immensely even though I'm quite clueless about how the drama adapts the scenes from Korean folk tales.

The characters are one-dimensional but there wasn't enough time to exhaust character development anyway given that it is a two-hour drama. Although the drama was set in the old days, it is interesting how the problems and issues presented in the drama are similar to the modern-day problems and issues such as social classes, poverty, slavery, etc.

I like the music in the drama. The drama showcases the group Infinity of Sound or IS, who is composed of triplets who sing while playing traditional Korean instruments. Their music is a fusion of traditional Korean music and pop music.

향단전 Legend of Hyang Dan