Bang! Stomp clomps into SeoulListen: Clang clang, clatter clatter, bang bang, rustle rustle, clomp clomp, stomp stomp. That’s the sound of a West End’s troupe’s hit performance, “Stomp,” bounding its way into Seoul for the first time. The non-verbal performance, which was first performed in Brighton, England in 1991, seems to use every tangible object available. Brooms, Zippo lighters, key rings, oil drum cans and even trash-can lids are smashed, clicked and stroked to produce a rhythm.
Even with no dialogue or background music, the show is so rhythmic that audience members find it impossible to sit still. As the beats reach a crescendo, viewers unconsciously start clapping their hands, snapping their fingers or tapping their feet, enjoying noises they would ordinaly want to tune out.
In that sense, the Electric Power Cultural Center might be the best venue in Seoul for the show, as Nick Handford, the Asian Tour production manager for Stomp, explained that the venue has the least distance from the stage to the back row, making it easier to interact with the audience.
Stomp has already been performed in Korea twice ― once in 1996 and 2000 ― but both times the performances were by affiliated off-Broadway troupes. The performance itself won’t be terribly different, said Park Bong-su, the manager of planning team at Cube Company, the organizer of the show.
“This performance, however, is about 15 minutes longer than the previous version staged here in 2000,” Mr. Park said, “as one more scene was added, making it a total of 21 scenes.”
Although the performance is unlikely to risk offending or challenging audience members ― no politics, no mimicry and no religion ― it does have a story about the daily life of people who belong to the lowest social stratum and live in an English slum. The depiction of class is done without sympathy. Rather, it shows how youth’s vital power can upend reality.
The West End troupe brought the percussion material they use on stage with them from England, while the Cube Company will handle the lighting. In addition, the company laid microphones underneath the stage, “in order to catch small sounds from finger tips and to make them resonate,” Mr. Park said.
Stomp is seen as being the greatest influence for Nanta, the Korean non-verbal cooking performance created in 1998. Nanta is something of an international success, having performed in Britain and the United States.
Mr. Park said Cube Company is in discussions with PMC, the production company for Nanta, to promote the two non-verbal performances together.
by Park Sung-ha
Stomp will be on stage until Feb. 5 at the Electric Power Cultural Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. To get there, go to the Yangjae subway station, line No. 3, exit 1, and walk for about 10 minutes.
The performance is at 8 p.m. weekdays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m on Sundays. There is no show on Mondays. Tickets cost from 44,000 won ($44) to 110,000 won. For more information, call (02) 538-7860, or visit www.stompkorea.com.