National Theater Company of KOREA

조씨고아, 복수의 씨앗(2023) Poster

The Orphan of Zhao: Seeds of Revenge

30 Nov, 2023~ 25 Dec, 2023

  • Venue

    Myeongdong Theater 

  • Genre


  • Show Time

    Weekdays 19:30ㅣSaturday, Sunday, Holyday 15:00
    ㅣNo performance on Tuesday

  • Tickets

    R 60,000KRW | S 45,000KRW | A 30,000KRW

  • Duration

    150 minutes.

  • Enquiry

  • Language Korean

    Chinese Subtitles will be provided on Thursdays.

    English subtitles will be provided on Sundays. (except 12/17)



    Age Restriction Suitable for ages 14 and over




The 52nd Dong-A Theater Awards

Best Production, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Audiovisual Design


The 8th Korean Theater Awards

Best Production, Best Director, Best Actor


The 3 Best Productions of 2015

Selected by the International Association of Theater Critics-Korea


The 7 Best Productions of 2015

Selected by The Korean Theatre Review



Life is short. May you live with ease and happiness.”


Since its premiere in 2015, The Orphan of Zhao: Seeds of Revenge has recorded numerous sold-out shows and standing ovations over five successful seasons, thus firmly and unapologetically establishing itself as a representative production in the NTCK’s repertoire. It returns to the stage this autumn to charm audiences once again. In honor of the 100th performance at Myeongdong Theater, director Koh Sun-woong takes a quintessentially humorous and rhythmic approach to unravel the majestic saga. Featuring a cast of both familiar and fresh faces, it brings a sense of warmth to the days leading up to the end of the year. Widely recognized as the crème de la crème of the theatrical world, The Orphan of Zhao: Seeds of Revenge continues to resonate with audiences through the powerful collaboration of the creative team and the compelling performances of the actors.


“It won the hearts of Chinese audiences with a Chinese story at a Chinese theater!”

- Yang Shen (Chinese playwright & director)


In October 2016, the NTCK brought The Orphan of Zhao: Seeds of Revenge to the National Theatre of China in Beijing. In the country of the original playwright, Junxiang Ji, the performance drew tears and laughter from some 1,300 people in the audience. As the curtain fell, they burst into applause, marking the birth of a timeless masterpiece at the hands of the Korean cast and crew. This new interpretation of the beloved Chinese play is set to continue its inspiring journey in 2023—beyond China’s 1.3 billion population.


This world is a stage for puppets. When we awake after frolicking to the sound of the drum and flute, we realize it was nothing but a short dream.


Consumed by his greed for power, General Tu’an Gu ruthlessly exterminates the Zhao family. In a desperate effort to save the sole survivor of the unjustly decimated Zhao clan, the family doctor, Cheng Ying, sacrifices his own child and wife. Cheng Ying gives the Zhao orphan the name Cheng Bo and raises him as his own son. For many years, Tu’an Gu remains under the impression that Cheng Ying is his loyal ally and takes Cheng Bo under his wing. Two decades later, when Cheng Bo comes of age, Cheng Ying reveals the tragic history of the Zhao family and implores the young man to take revenge on Tu’an Gu.


Original play by Junxiang Ji

The Yuan Dynasty playwright Junxiang Ji wrote The Orphan of Zhao in the form of zaju drama, based on historical narratives. Of the six zaju plays he wrote, The Orphan of Zhao is the only surviving example. Highly lauded as ‘one of the most powerful tragedies to be shared with audiences worldwide’ in the long history of Chinese drama, it is often dubbed ‘Hamlet of the East’, and various adaptations of the play have been performed around the world.



Directed by Koh Sun-woong

Koh Sun-woong founded the theater troupe Play Factory Mabangzen in 2005 and immediately took the theater world by storm with such acclaimed works as The Chalk Circle, King Rear, Killbeth, Hongdo, In Still Green Days, The Stainless-Steel King, and Lucky Man Show. Koh has firmly established himself as one of Korea’s most celebrated directors, successfully traversing various genres. His credits include the musicals The Sorrows of Young Werther, Gwangju and Arirang, the traditional Korean operas Kwito: Rabbit’s Eight Difficulties, Mr. Heungbo and Madam Ong, and the operas 1945 and Macbeth. Most notably, his 2015 production of The Orphan of Zhao: Seeds of Revenge at the NTCK won him numerous prestigious awards in Korea. Koh captivates audiences with his innovative and bold storytelling and enlivens every aspect of life and theater with his unique wit and humor.