South Korean stage show Fireman celebrates firefighters with parkour and comedy

Entertainer Hong Yun Gab stars in Fireman (above), where firefighter wannabes regale the audience with parkour, martial arts and acrobatic moves.
Entertainer Hong Yun Gab stars in Fireman (above), where firefighter wannabes regale the audience with parkour, martial arts and acrobatic moves.PHOTO: THEATRE O INC
Entertainer Hong Yun Gab (above) stars in Fireman, where firefighter wannabes regale the audience with parkour, martial arts and acrobatic moves.
Entertainer Hong Yun Gab (above) stars in Fireman, where firefighter wannabes regale the audience with parkour, martial arts and acrobatic moves.PHOTO: THEATRE O INC

South Korean entertainer Hong Yun Gab hopes to show how tough a fireman's job is and make the audience laugh in action-comedy show Fireman

8Q

Like Rowan Atkinson's Mr Bean, South Korean entertainer Hong Yun Gab, 38, needs no words to make audiences burst out in laughter.

That is something he accomplishes with ease even when he is not on stage for Fireman, a non-verbal action-comedy show about fire- fighter wannabes.

During an interview with The Straits Times recently, he had this reporter cracking up several times.

While he does not speak English and a translator was at hand to assist in the interview, he was probably happier to physically answer queries.

He animatedly expressed what he meant with exaggerated gestures, mock tears (when asked how tough his training for the show is) and even flying out of his chair at one point to show just how high a place he would jump from during the show. In person, he is the perfect advertisement for Fireman, where the cast regales the audience with awe-inspiring parkour, martial arts and acrobatic moves mixed with comic acting.

  • BOOK IT / FIREMAN

  • WHERE: The Theatre at Mediacorp, 1 Stars Avenue

    WHEN: Saturday, 2 and 8pm and Sunday, 2pm

    ADMISSION: $48, $58, $68, $78 from Sistic

    INFO: www.sistic.com.sg/events/fire1216

Hong says: "Korean is not a global language, so if we were to speak during the show, audiences in other parts of the world won't understand us.

"Instead, Fireman allows the audience to understand the storyline through our actions and expressions."

The high-energy show by South Korean production show company Epic Theatre will run in Singapore this weekend at The Theatre at Mediacorp.

Since its debut in July last year, more than eight million people have watched the show across the world. Its team of 24 performers are divided into three groups to perform daily shows in Seoul, as well as on tours in other countries, including Russia and Indonesia.

South Korean Fireman director Jackie Lim, 38, explains the reason behind the show's central theme of people training to become a fireman. "We want to point out that there are real-life superheroes around us like the firemen.

"Not many know how much effort they put in and we hope to bring attention to this while having fun."

1 What is one of your favourite scenes in the show?

There is a slow-motion scene where we struggle to hold on to a fire hose that is wiggling around vigorously and it always has the audience laughing. It looks funny, but it is one of the harder scenes as it is difficult to hold on to the hose while slowing down our actions.

2 How intensive is the training?

We practise eight to 10 hours a day and we went to an actual fireman school to learn what they do. Some of us now have certification to help firemen in times of need, too.

3 Are any actual firefighting equipment used on stage?

Yes, a fire hose, oxygen tanks and the fireman's mask. But we wear a costume as the uniform is very heavy, making it harder to move around on stage.

4 Do you get injured during training or even on stage?

Oh yes, a lot of times. We do get small injuries here and there. The worst I had on Fireman is fracturing my ankle on stage during a jump scene. However, I carried on so the audience wouldn't realise. It's all okay now.

We over-exert ourselves sometimes, but that's because we want to entertain the audience as much as possible.

5 What do your parents think of your job?

At the beginning of my career, they were not happy about it as it can get dangerous, but seeing how much I enjoy it, they now support me whole-heartedly.

6 What were you doing before joining Fireman?

I was in Jump, the martial arts and comedy show, for 10 years before joining Fireman. Before that, I was in a non-verbal taekwondo performance.

I have always been interested in sports since I was young, but when I saw such shows that combined sports with acting, I knew these were what I wanted to do.

7 Did you harbour dreams of becoming a real-life fireman?

I did when we were training at the fireman school, but it's a hard job. I'd rather show the audience through the show how tough it is and to make them better understand what being a fireman is like.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

As a funny and enthusiastic person who has provided laughter to others.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 05, 2016, with the headline 'Fighting fire with parkour and fun'. Print Edition | Subscribe