Language is no barrier to enjoying this festival

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Language is no barrier to enjoying this festival

The National Theater of Korea has created a “nonverbal festival” to run until the end of September. According to press materials, the series seeks to combine percussion and dance to make performances “more enjoyable for those who have found it difficult to appreciate Korean traditional plays due to language barriers.”
The troupes, mostly styled after Korea’s traditional salmunori, were chosen for their ability to represent traditional performance while reaching out to today’s audiences. “In the 21st century, performances are created not to be enjoyed cerebrally, but with your heart,” says Sung Young-jae, a staff member at MoA, the company promoting the show.
Performances are scheduled for the Open Air Stage, at 8 p.m. nightly. This excites organizers because, traditionally, Korean dance performances were held outdoors.
The festival began Sept. 1, with four groups slated to appear for the month. Yadanbopsok performed a self-titled percussion musical with eight members. That show closed Sept. 4.
The group now performing is called D&D. They’re staging “Chun-go Mystic Sound from Heaven” through Saturday. This dance and drum troupe perfoms with drums made of animal hide. Director Park Jae-sun says, “Playing the drums, we sweat, we express our feelings.”
Munhwamaul Tulsori will be performing “Tao” from Wednesday to Sept. 18. They’re celebrating a recent tour of Europe and the troupe’s 20th anniversary. Over the past two decades, they’ve performed in Korea, Japan, Singapore and Europe. Their philosophy is “Play well.”
A group called Taplanchom will close the series with “Doo-ta” on Sept. 22 to 25. This troupe has been invited to perform at La Mama E.T.C., an experimental theater club in New York City, and in Europe and Southeast Asia. Their performance has a strong pantomime element.


by Joe Yonghee

Tickets are 15,000 ($13) to 25,000 won per show. For more information, visit the Web site www.ntok.go.kr.

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