[ON STAGE]2 villages, many differences

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[ON STAGE]2 villages, many differences

"Children of the Stepping Stones" is a musical children's adventure set in an imaginative world. In the play, there are two villages on opposite sides of a wide river. One is prosperous, with sumptuous fruit trees and a bright moon. The other is without food and clean clothes. The two villages are different culturally, too. They differ in the way the inhabitants greet each other, the way they eat and the way they speak - in fact, one village speaks Korean, but the other speaks English.

As the story progresses, residents from the two villages try various approaches to cross the river to see how people "out there" live. They fail, however, because Habaek, the god of the river, won't allow them to cross.

The residents perform an ancestral ritual to please the god and eventually he decides to allow the crossing by laying small stepping stones across the water. "This is my present for you, so use it well," Habaek says after blowing his magic flute, which lowers the depth of the water. From there, the real story begins.

The villages' differences lead to frequent conflicts. They cannot speak each other's language, but they can sing and mime to communicate.

Co-produced by Lim Do-wan from the Sadari Production Company and Roger Rynd from the Australian Round Eye Movement (otherwise known as REM) that is part of the Sydney Opera House, the "Children of the Stepping Stones" is a play that draws on many different aspects of classical literature. It covers mythology, adult fairy tales and often philosophy. There is plenty of lively percussion throughout the play, helping to keep child viewers awake.

Rynd is the same artistic director who staged "The Kookaburra Who Stole the Moon" at the Seoul Arts Center last November. He says he was inspired to produce the play after reading the Korean folktale of a man who crossed a river by laying stepping stones. Then he added myths by aborigines from Australia, where he is mainly based.

"Children of the Stepping Stones" is the group's second play with Sadari. Their partnership began in 1997 with "The Adventure of an Eccentric Family."

For more information, call 02-499-3487. One of the few production companies that specialize in children's plays, Sadari has also invited children from rehabilitation centers and after school playhouses.

by Park Soo-mee

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