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Leodo: Paradise Lost — Norian Maro returns to the Fringe

Here’s the official press release for Norian Maro’s 2014 Edinburgh Fringe production Leodo: Paradise Lost. The show has developed out of last year’s production, Pudasi, which LKL reviewed here.

The Stage has already given this year’s upgraded version a four-star review:

“The talented seven-member ensemble never flags in energy, choreographic skill or audience engagement”
score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0 The Stage

The setting of the story, as last year, is the mythical island of 이어도, just off Jejudo (where Norian Maro is based).

Norian Maro — Leodo: Paradise Lost

Leodo - Paradise Lost

A mesmerising Korean physical theatre piece featuring traditional and contemporary drumming, singing, dancing and movement.

Energetic and multi-talented Norian Maro create a powerfully enthralling atmosphere and conjure Leodo, a fantasy island and artistic nirvana, treasured by the people in the Jeju-do province. Beautiful costumes, heartfelt movements and enchanting music transfer audience in to the past, delivering the wisdom, arts and joy of Jeju. Award-winning director / choreographer Haein Song and the Norian Maro company return with their new show, Leodo: Paradise Lost, premiering at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Join in this joyful celebration of life. From the creators of Pudasi, named in Ten Unmissable Shows at 2013’s Edinburgh Festival by CultureTrip.

In contrast to John Milton’s usage, the ‘lost’ represents the passage to paradise. Jeju Island is wracked with poor soil and natural disasters. It is a place where people need hope. The people there depend greatly on the sea, leading to a large number of fatalities. Due to their dire way of living, Jeju Islanders created Leodo Island as a utopia or place of refuge for those out at sea. It is a place free of hunger, stress, and anxiety for those lost.

Norian Maro is able to capture the ungraspable island that is Leodo Island through magnificent movement and song. The aesthetic beauty of this artform generates an exciting space where the boundary between performers and audience can be joyfully crossed to lift each other to a higher well-being and happiness. Maro is Pure Korean, meaning the best, or the top.

‘Norian Maro has players sitting, standing, dancing, and even musically dueling with their janggu drums. Norian Maro’s janggu players run, dance, and play in intricate patterns without missing a beat’ Jeju Weekly

Norian Maro has been performing at festivals worldwide, spreading the concept of creating open, communicative, and harmonic spaces. The twelve members have varying backgrounds, including traditional singers, percussionist, contemporary dancer, and multimedia designer. The group has been living communally and fostering cultural communication through active performances of more than 800 shows annually. In 2013, Norian Maro received an international invitation to perform at the Sydney Chinese New Year Festival and CIOFF Festival Guadeloupe.

Leodo: Paradise Lost
Category: Musicals and Opera
Genres: Music, Dance
Group: Norian Maro
Venue: C venues – C ​
Event Website:
Date: 30 July – 24 August. Book tickets
Time: 15:35
Duration: 1 hour

6 thoughts on “Leodo: Paradise Lost — Norian Maro returns to the Fringe

  1. Another work of art inspired by the same island is Kim Ki Young’s 1977 film ‘Ieodo’ (= Leodo in different transcription). It’s available in that wonderful treasure chest – the films uploaded onto YouTube by the Korean Film Archive, available to everyone. But judging from the Norian Maro description and video clip, Kim Ki Young creates a very different vision!

    1. Thanks for the reminder of that great resource, and for the connection with the Kim Ki Young film. Not sure that I’m going to have time to watch it before I see the Edinburgh performance, but I’m sure it’s quite a contrast!

  2. I was wondering if “Leodo” was the same as in Kim Ki-young’s film, which I saw for the first and only time in the London Pan-Asian Film Festival of 1998, co-curated by Stephen Cremin. That festival screened these films by Kim Ki-young:
    * The Housemaid
    * The Insect Woman
    * Promise of the Flesh
    * Iodo
    * Killer Butterfly
    * Woman of Fire ’82
    and the two that stood out for me were “Promise of the Flesh” and “Iodo”. (I was less impressed by “The Housemaid” than most people I talked to.) I now have a chance to see both again, so thank you Bill Littlewood for mentioning the Korean Film Archive on YouTube, which I didn’t know about.

  3. How would you characterize the style of Yohangza and their powerful reinterpretation of Hamlet, in relation to Norian Moro in regards to their physicality and usage of traditional Korean dances/ instruments…

    1. Wow – that’s a big question!

      I’m afraid I didn’t manage to get to see Yohangza’s Hamlet, though I hear there was plenty of shamanistic ritual in it. I managed to miss Leodo this year as well (despite having a ticket for it), but I saw its earlier iteration, Pudasi, last year. So I’m not the best person to comment, but it’s a great question.

      I felt that in Pudasi the emphasis was on the music & dance. To me, the story (which was, if I remember correctly, entirely non-verbal, and you had to pretty much guess what was going on) seemed just a framework for showcasing the music & dance. I wish I’d seen Hamlet, but I went to the talk by its director, and the impression I got was that the story and the drama was central, as you might expect with a Shakespeare adaptation, with the ritual aspects being an interesting Korean “spin” on the story.

      I’d really like to hear from anyone who *did* manage to see the Hamlet.

  4. Joonki Hong: Was lucky enough to catch these guys in Edinburgh. A great show and a very impressed audience!

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