From teacher’s podium to center stage

From teacher’s podium to center stage
American musical actor Micah Hein poses during an interview with The Korea Herald at the Music Show Wedding Theater in Mapogu, Seoul.

After one live performance and just one email, the life of English teacher Micah Hein took a dramatic turn.

A little over a year ago, the 24-year-old American theatre major arrived in Korea ― traveling abroad for the first time ― to teach English through performing arts. Little did he know that in this alien country, he would realise his dream of becoming a professional actor and debut with a title role.

It all started when the theatre lover found himself crossing off what is on the to-do list of many tourists visiting Korea ― seeing "Nanta."

"When I saw 'Nanta,' I was like, 'Whoa, that's cool,'" said Hein during an interview with The Korea Herald.

The nonverbal variety show by famed Korean director Song Seung-hwan is a wildly interactive performance based on the premise of cooks preparing food for a large wedding, where performers wield chopping knifes and clang pots and pans to percussive beats.

"What I loved about 'Nanta' was the fact that no matter what age you are, no matter what country you come from, you can enjoy it and you can understand it. The storyline is very simple, it's easy to follow," Hein said.

After being thoroughly impressed by the performance, he saw an ad for Nanta's sister musical ― "Music Show Wedding" ― in the show's playbook and headed to Hongdae to watch it.

"Wedding," also produced by Song, is a nonverbal musical tale of the pending nuptials of a young couple seeking the approval of the bride's father.

"I attended the show for the first time last October," he said, adding that he even remembers the exact seat he was sitting in that night.

"After the show I remember saying, 'That was so much fun.' Just like 'Nanta,' it was a feel-good show ― kids were laughing, grandparents were laughing. I said to myself, I would really love to be a part of it," he said.

"I know I'm a foreigner, but I decided what the heck."

He shot off his resume to an email address he found on the musical's homepage, despite having little faith that he would receive a response.

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