In the magical world of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, there is another princess, Shim Cheong, who has not yet awakened. It wasn’t the prince who came to find her. It was Julia Liu, a musical composer and lyricist studying at Harvard University, who wondered if Disney could become a Korean-American princess.
Liu created the story of Princess Shim Cheong as part of her advanced dissertation on playwriting, including a complete original musical script. After completing her first draft, she shared a 45-second clip of her song “Dive” to TikTok earlier this month. This resulted in hundreds of thousands of views, and I didn’t think the story needed to be a reality. Manufacture.
“All the fish in the ocean can’t stop me / every wave in the world can’t shake me” The lyrics begin with a bright melody that perfectly blends with Disney’s iconic music number repertoire.
“Disney Princess in South Korea? One viewer commented, but countless other viewers put a tag under Disney’s video to get Disney’s attention. Inspired by Riew’s performance. Many other users have uploaded their own video responses to her songs, either in harmony with Riew or singing in karaoke style.
What was her reaction? “Speechless,” she told Next Shark.
“I told someone about two weeks ago, one of my dreams is to walk down the street and listen to my child singing a song I wrote. Now I almost realize that dream. I feel like I’m doing it, “she said. “Perhaps these kids can see that I have a character that I respected as a kid, sang, and really wanted to feel represented by that character. “
Liu’s “Shim Cheong” begins with a literal “dive” into Korean folk tales and has a production period of about one and a half years. The original story of Shim Cheong or “The Daughter of the Blind” is about a young woman who sacrifices everything in exchange for what a blind father can see. She is then rewarded for her selfless behavior by being appointed to her empress.
It was the character’s courage and her determination to adventure on her own that struck Liu during her studies and later served as a source of inspiration for her. Liu says that many of the main themes and characters in her original story have been taken over by herself, but have been extensively adapted to suit the modern audience.
“I’m always looking for story seeds, adventure seeds, and how this can be transformed into a performing arts,” said Liu, who previously helped adapt folk tales to musical theaters. Explained. “So it’s actually my version of Shimcheong, just as Disney adopts that story a lot.”
Liu points out that Shim Cheong lacks an “agency” in the original story, along with a portrayal of the disabled, as she changed to her version. During her study, she contacted her blind friend and gathered his thoughts on the lessons of the original story that the blind have talented eyesight.
“He said there are many dissenting opinions about it in his community,” Riew said. “So much of what I’ve done is to look at the original focus and say,” OK, what do I like about this? ” And what is your personal inspiration for my own journey? And what about the journey of the friends and people I talked to? And how can they be fused into a musical? “
That’s why the story she came up with isn’t about traditional Shim Cheong, but about the quest for Liu’s own identity as an Asian-American who grew up in Missouri.
For Liu, writing for Disney was her dream. [she] I remember. ”
“Listening to the Broadway soundtrack in the car and watching Disney movies as a kid was one of the most creative and artistic inspirations for me, so I personally. And I think many hopes are definitely attracted to Disney, “Hello, I’m here. I’m trying to make a Disney princess and she’s a Korean. If you want to, and want to make it real, hello, I’m here, I’m here. “
Moulin, the “princess” of Disney’s token Asia, loved by many, isn’t enough, Liu says.
“Many of the media we consume as children affect the way we see ourselves. In particular, the only chance we need to see ourselves on the screen is of a very specific kind. When it comes to playing a person or a very specific type of character. ”
“I think it’s great to have Moulin. For many, Moulin is their favorite Disney princess and I think they can see themselves in her. But at the same time. When I was young and dressing up with my friends, they realized that they said I was the only one who could dress up so far, and one of my goals for expression. And I don’t think that’s the only thing I’m predicting about future expressions, because as the story grows, it gives us a broader idea of the range of different stories out there. There is a very broad understanding. It’s really, really tricky about what it means to be an Asian-American and one princess to represent all Asian-Americans. “
Riew believes we are now at a turning point in terms of expression. There is a sense of “excitement” and “needs” in more diverse stories, and I hope there will be space to introduce them.
With all the interest she generated from the script in less than an hour, the producer and the theater also turned to Liu so much that he hesitated to reveal too much about the storyline. So far, nothing has been decided.
Whatever happened from Riew’s “Shimcheong,” at least many people were inspired to see themselves on the screen. And, at least, it would have brought her something that could only be assumed to be an obvious “A” in her dissertation.
Featured image via Julia Liu
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