Social Network Services (SNS) have become a huge part of everyday life. It is not difficult to see people habitually checking their SNS accounts. Since you can create another self on social media, people tend to post a better version of themselves or even invent a new self online. But what if the better version of yourself on social media is your true self? The musical Cha-Me illustrates the story of a girl who wishes to be a better version of herself, and how her attitude changes as her dreams come true. Cha Me-ho is an ordinary college student who actively posts pictures of her life on Instagram under the nickname “Cha-me”. Even though Cha-me on Instagram is someone Me-ho made online, she envies her imaginary self because unlike in real life, Cha-me on Instagram is very popular. Cha-me gets “liked” by a handsome classmate at school she wishes she could be close to and becomes the center of other people’s jealousy because she gets to do what everyone else wants to do. Just as Me-ho was wandering around with the thought ‘What if the Instagram Cha-me is the real me?’ she accidentally breaks the screen of her smartphone. At the moment she started to feel extremely upset, Cha-me, her made-up self on Instagram, shows up as a real human and introduces herself. Cha-me says that she is the same person as Me-ho, but an advanced version. She tells Me-ho that she can do everything Me-ho wants to do but which she cannot put into action. In detail, Cha-me could perform a lot of difficult tasks easily not only because she is the better version of Me-ho, but also because whatever Me-ho posts on Instagram comes true in the life of Cha-me. In other words, regardless of the truth, if Me-ho posts what she “desires” to have done on SNS, it becomes one of Cha-me’s many accomplishments. With the excitement that her dream has come true, Me-ho allows Cha-me to carry out most jobs she would do in real life such as going to school, being in a relationship, and going to job interviews. In contrast to Me-ho who is shy and always fails to get a job, Cha-me perfectly supplements the missing part of Me-ho’s life. Cha-me lives the perfect life Meho has always dreamed of by being in a relationship with a popular guy and getting a job. Me-ho was satisfied with her life because her other self quickly achieved everything she had ever wanted and thought everyone would like Cha-me better than her because she is the perfect version of herself. However, after Meho’s friend Go-dae tells her that he likes her, she gets surprised by the fact that there was someone who likes her as she is, even though she is not perfect. Me-ho starts to wonder who she is and begins to rethink her relationship with Cha-me. She discusses her concerns with Cha-me, but she looks at Me-ho with disrespect saying no one wants an imperfect figure and tells her to leave all social jobs to Cha-me. Meanwhile, as Cha-me and her boyfriend Jin-hyuk spent more time together, they get to know more about each other. Jin-hyuk finds out that Chame is not the real Me-ho and that she came from SNS account. In fact, Jin-hyuk confesses that he is also someone from another dimension and tells her how she could come to the real world. The door connecting two worlds was the crack in the screen of Me-ho’s cell phone. Jinhyuk tells Cha-me that the crack in Meho’s cell phone will soon be gone, and only one version of Me-ho can stay in the real world. Once Cha-me hears this, she runs to Me-ho and tells her everything, giving Me-ho a fair chance to consider which version should stay in real life. Me-ho had already been thinking about her relationship with Cha-me, but knowing that she must decide within a limited time, her concerns about her identity became even more complex. If Me-ho had heard everything before she had known that there was someone who liked her as she was, she would have chosen Cha-me to stay without hesitation. However, it was different because Me-ho began to feel her life was taken away by Cha-me and as she knew someone liked her imperfectness. After a long time of endlessly asking herself who she was, Me-ho chooses to be herself and to accept who she is, and Cha-me goes back to her virtual world with the closure of the door connecting two worlds. The musical Cha-Me covers a simple story of an ordinary girl who was addicted to social media and learns to love herself as she is. Despite the simplicity of the story, it utilizes symbolic stage props and metaphors to effectively deliver the message to the audience. For example, books worked as a medium in the musical to connect the main characters. The main characters often have their books switched or lost, and the story develops with the main characters engaging in conversation when they try to get their own books back. Besides, the books contribute to leading the overall plot by having the content matching the colors of each character. Jin-hyuk always carries a book called Onggojipjjeon which is about a man named Onggojip and another man who looks exactly the same as him. As Jin-hyuk came from another dimension like Cha-me, he can be regarded as a fake self of another person, which suits the story of the book he always carries everywhere. Moreover, in the musical, a puzzle often shows up as a metaphor. The pictures on Instagram look like squareshaped puzzles, and life and love were illustrated as a journey to find the “right piece” to complete a whole puzzle. Because of that, Cha-me often refers to herself as a perfect puzzle with all the right pieces and calls Me-ho an imperfect puzzle with empty pieces no one wants. However, in the end, Me-ho realizes the significance of the puzzle is not in filling in the empty parts with perfect pieces. Whether it has a complete shape or not, it can be a form of a drawing — a piece of art. Cha-Me effectively criticizes people’s needless obsession with their made-up selves on SNS and helps people to realize how important and how beautiful just the way they are. Watching the musical Cha-Me will undoubtedly stop people from checking their social media accounts at least for the running hours, and meanwhile will indirectly deliver a message about the need to find your true self rather than worshiping the created one.
Place: Chungmu Art Center