‘CRAZY: For Jonghyun‘, a short play put on by the Emerging Artists Theater, is drawing backlash from fans of the idol and his group. A part of its ongoing New Work Series, the description of the play describes it as a ‘dark comedy about suicide’.
Bored and despondent over her empty life, Haru seeks answers from her favorite K-pop idol, Jonghyun. Jonghyun’s tender lyrics of longing and charismatic stage presence gave him millions of fans worldwide. Still, the adoration of stans could not stop his emotional unraveling. Since Jonghyun could not find the answers to life’s questions for himself, how can he possibly help Haru? The two spar over questions of love and life in a disconnected world. A dark comedy about suicide, Crazy: for Jonghyun asks, “Can the dead save the living?”
Writer: Susan W Chamberlin
Producer: Eliza Cass
Director: Graydon Gund
I actually believe the dark comedy about suicide part is totally fine, people have different ways of dealing with shit, and sometimes the best way is to make light of it. Some of the best works ever have been in this category.
That said, I understand the anger of fans as well because it feels unnecessary to directly involve Jonghyun‘s passing and his work to convey the point. I won’t read malicious intent into this for now, but it does come off like trying to use a tragedy as promo for one’s work, and it inherently carries the ethical risk of Werther effect related issues.
There are probably going to be different opinions on this, and while I support artistic freedom and all that, a part of that is other people being able to tell you the work seems exploitive as hell, especially for something that happened less than five years ago.
It has been cancelled.
Worth noting that Emerging Artists Theater is a registered non-profit.