Modl Theatre Company has been a favourite on the Edinburgh Fringe circuit for a while. Their productions of Mong-Yeon (also known as A Love in Dream) and Dandelion’s Story have played to five star reviews. So when they come along with a new production, the expectations are high. And for a first-time viewer (yes, this is the first time I’ve seen them, though Colin Bartlett has been enthusing about them for years) they live up to those expectations.
The play opens with a captivating scene of a young woman being prepared for her wedding: her mother gives sage advice, while the maids iron some fabrics with their laundry bats and the daughter tries on her wedding outfit. The servants lament the fact that the girl, who such is a great storyteller, will soon be lost to them, and they ask her to read them their favourite story – one which they almost know by heart – one last time before she leaves to join her husband’s household.
Thus begins a story within a story, one which also involves a young married couple – a semi-divine woman who has been successfully wooed by a mere mortal male. The story is told partly in narrative, partly in pansori-style song, and partly – because they know the story so well – by the servants themselves, acting the parts of the different characters. In fact, towards the end, fiction and reality seem to merge, as it seems that the man that the daughter is about to marry is none other than the main character in the story that she has been narrating. The intertwining of the myth with the characters we see on stage somehow gives it added presence.
The performance ends with an elegant fan dance by a handsome chap who woos one of the sleeping servants. Altogether an enchanting way to spend an hour of your time.
The performance will be repeated at the KCC on 30 August and is well worth watching.
A Romance was at C Venues, 1 Aug – 26 Aug 2013.