Cooling-Off at the National Theater of Korea -Movies and Music for FreeLanguid days and humid nights is the bane of living in Seoul in the summertime. With nighttime temperatures floating at an uncomfortable 25 degrees Celcius, there is little respite from the heat. A small move is enough to become drenched in sweat, and sitting still makes little difference. What is one to do, but get caught up in something and forget the heat? And, one great distraction is going on at the National Theater of Korea (contact number in Seoul: 2274-1172). The performance venue located on Mt. Namsan in Seoul is putting on the "Night Festival 2000" from August 9 to 13 to rescue those "withering away in the heat of the night".
If the idea of great music and performances is not enough of a draw, the cooler temperatures of the surrounding forests should be. One man who brought his family to the Theather complex said, "The temperatures here are always 5 degrees lower than that in the city itself." A wonderous variety of music -classical Korean music, acapella ensembles, jazz - is scheduled to cater to every taste in music with concerts starting at 7pm every night of the festival. And, if the music has you clamoring for more, why not stay to enjoy the latest movies -not a bad idea for people looking for someplace to go on a date and light on the wallet, too. Movies begin at 8pm.
The festival will kick off with performances of classical Korean court and percussion music on the 9th of August. Also, an eclectic mix of ancient Korean instruments along with synthesizers and drums promise to make an exciting show. On the 10th, the acapella group 'Solist' are the headlining act followed by a live jazz group on the 11th. On August 12, the jazz pianist, Yang Joon-ho, and jazz ensemble 'the Quartet' will continue the smooth sounds. And, on the 13th, classical Korean instrumentalists are to play a concert with the theme 'Cinema Paradiso'.
For those who cannot sit still for the music or the movies, more 'active' activities are planned with competions and games planned. Some of the scheduled events include 'techno' dancing, hoolahoop competitions, special competitions for couples to name but a few.
As for movie buffs wanting something out of the ordinary, this place is a must with its huge 32 x 14m screen in the 'Haeoreum' theater hall of the National Theater of Korea.
With three great reasons to come to Mt. Namsan- what more could you ask for to while away the summer nights until the heat breaks?
by Ahn Hye-ree