What happens in the orchestra pit during a musical? If you’re looking for a factual answer to this question, you’ll be disappointed with this musical. Like the lyrics state: “What happens in our life, happens here as well,” where the small and ordinary events of daily life are the focus of this musical. For three hours, the actors sing of love and hardships—not as members of an orchestra but as caricatures of society. There aren’t any scenes that present the orchestra members interacting with the actors on stage and the musical actress, who only appears as an off-stage voice, has a comical tone. It’s hard to link the story of the musical to what’s supposed to be the main theme: the secrets and episodes that go on in the orchestra pit. Because the musical doesn’t answer this central question, the half hearted attempt at satirizing musicals doesn’t make sense. Another problem is the stage set. It’s made up of several small platforms connected by short staircases, on which the actors each sit with their instruments. This confined space hinders the actors’ movements and makes the overall performance feel claustrophobic. When the actors come upstage to share their individual stories, you can finally breathe again, but even then, the instruments the actors “play,” which could’ve been interesting props to incorporate, are instead just tossed next to the chair in a manner that is both distracting and unnecessary.
Ochepi does not have a main character. The orchestra conductor narrates the musical to move it along, but the overall plot is composed of the stories shared by all the characters. For this reason, the actors are important. Hwang Jung-min and Oh Man-suk as the conductor, Park Hye-na and Choi Woo-ri as the violinist, and Yoon Gong-ju and Lin Ah as the harpist all give it their all on stage. The best way to appreciate this musical is to watch your favorite actor perform.