Leningrad Mimes Speak Quietly on The Pain of Love Missing the Mark

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Leningrad Mimes Speak Quietly on The Pain of Love Missing the Mark

"Once," a piece by Leningrad's Theater Troupe "Derevo" will be performed in the LG Arts Center from Thursday to Sunday. The group performed the same work in Seoul last year. Founded by Anton Adassinsky, an avant-garde choreographer and the former director of the rock troupe Avia, the group contends that intellect is the enemy of the theater. Their work uses an anarchist wit and a provocative theatrical language that wins the heart of their audience.

Literally meaning tree in Russian, Derevo was formed in the winter of 1988, the same year that Mikhail Gorbachev proclaimed openess for the then Soviet Union. During the last 10 years, the troupe has traveled and performed all over Europe. It settled in Dresdsen in 1997 and has received awards in festivals internationally.

At the 1997 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Derevo performed "Red Zone," an experimental play depicting a group of jugglers who are struggling with an invisible force. Accompanied by a soundtrack featuring pre-recorded laughter and disturbingly exaggerated applause, the work presented a hauntingly realistic portrayal of power and hierarchy. The piece created a sensation at the 1998 London Mime Festival.

"Once," which is described as "a fairy tale about love, tears and broken hearts," is about an old janitor who falls in love with a beautiful waitress working at a seaside cafe. His dilemma begins when a young gentleman enters the scene and the waitress falls for him. The janitor hires Cupid to shoot arrows at her, but they miss her heart every time, and the old man loses her.

Anton Adassinsky, the director of the troupe was trained by Katsuno Ono, a master of buhto, the Japanese martial arts dance. He says his inspiration for the piece came from the aura of a schizophrenic he saw in a book, which he finds reflected in the art of performance. The troupe's work contains ritualistic and meditative elements that attempt a psycho-analytical understanding of human beings.

Inspired by rock musicals, Hollywood silent films and cartoons, this non-verbal theater uses body movements, sound and lighting as a means of communication. The visual references in the work, including paintings on the walls, sets and costumes, also change dramatically as the play proceeds, adding layers of meaning to the work.

The shows on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday will be held at 6 p.m. and Friday's performance is at 8 p.m. For more information, call 02-2005-1426 (English service available).

by Park Soo-mee

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