I’m afraid I lack the critical faculties to describe the evening adequately, but it’s well worth going to and I think I might be going back to see it again tomorrow. It’s two nights only. I went along with an avowed non dance fan and someone who was hoping for something very traditional, and both thoroughly enjoyed it. Music was impressive — traditional instruments (apart from the keyboard); and yes there was some pansori singing, but it was much broader than that. A huge amount of variety. Bits of Philip Glass & Steve Reich, but with hyperactive drum rhythms from darkest Africa or Stravinsky; and chaotic shamanistic(?)-style music with frenetic gongs and that instrument which sounds like a strangulated oboe. And I can imagine the Kayagum player had sore fingers at the end of the evening. I’m not a great connoisseur of dance, but I was fully engaged throughout the hour and a half’s performance. Lots of variety, and I was amazed at the strength and stamina of some of the dancers (how do you hold an open fan between your toes for five minutes or so without your toes aching unbearably?). There was lots of energy, but also some very gripping scenes when there wasn’t much in the way of movement, including a rather homoerotic moment when the two topless male leads circled each other slowly. And it wasn’t just the guys who were topless. A tip. Make sure you read the (free) programme before the show. A couple of times. The show is perfectly enjoyable as an abstract experience (and yes I do know the story of Chunhyang). But after the show was finished I went back over the programme notes and realised I’d missed about 90% of what was meant to be happening. It didn’t really matter though.
- Feature on KBS’s site (NB KBS’s site seems to prefer Internet Explorer. The page may not load in Firefox)