Performances from all over converge for Seoul festivalThe fourth Seoul Performing Arts Festival 2004, which began last week and runs through next Saturday, features stage and dance performances from around the world.
Dealing with selected performance art from both local and international troupes, the festival offers performances at an affordable price, organizers say. The best seats cost no more than 50,000 won ($40). Venues include Daehangno, Sinchon and Gwanghwamun.
Most of the international troupes are from non-English speaking countries, and only Korean subtitles are given.
“Let’s Go” by Ahn Eun-mi, a Korean modern dancer who first made a name for herself in New York, remains true to her reputation as an avant-garde artist. “Let’s Go!” is the first of her “Let’s” series, after her “Please” series, which included “Please, Touch Me” and “Please, Kill Me.”
For this performance, which is full of colors and energy as in her other performances, Ms. Ahn herself auditioned multi-national dancers. Ms. Ahn presents “Let’s Go” next Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Mary Hall of Sogang University in Sinchon, northwestern Seoul.
Another noteworthy dance performance from Stuttgart Theater House is “The Maids,” reborn in modern dance form by Japanese director Yoshi Oida. “The Maids” is originally from the classic stage drama by French playwright Jean Genet. Unlike the conventional performance, this version of “The Maids” features a group of male dancers.
The director, influenced by Japanese traditional stage drama as well as European styles, fills this performance with the mysterious spirit of African animism and powerful choreography. “The Maids” is performed today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Mary Hall at Sogang University.
This year’s festival also offers marionette performances, “Carmen, My Carmen” from Russia and “The Battle of Stalingrad” from Georgia, which once part of the Soviet bloc.
“Carmen,” based on the classic French opera by Bizet, is an interesting mixture of marionette, opera and stage performance. Presented by the State Academic Central Puppet Theater, “Carmen” is showing at the Sejong Center for Performing Arts in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, daily until next Saturday, except for tomorrow and Monday, at 7:30 p.m.
“The Battle of Stalingrad,” on the other hand, is a tragic and poetic drama based on the actual 1942 battle between Russia and Germany during World War II.
The play is showing on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday at 4 and 7:30 p.m. at the Sangmyung University theater in Daehangno, the home of small theater houses in northern Seoul.
If you want to see a more Korean traditional performance, do not miss “Supercussion” today and tomorrow at 4 p.m. at the National Theater of Korea on Mount Namsan. Presented by the Kim Deok-su troupe, whose specialty is Korean traditional samulnori, a four-percussion play of farmers, “Supercussion” remains true to the troupe’s world-famous reputation of giving performance full of energy and vigor.
For music lovers, “Two Strings,” collaboration of Korean and Chinese traditional music performers, are showing on Friday and next Saturday at Ho-Am Art Hall.
by Chun Su-jin
For more information and ticket reservation, visit www.spaf21.com (English available) or call the organizers at (02) 3673-2561.