Trio of fall performance festivals

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Trio of fall performance festivals


Theatre-Laboratory SFUMATO from Bulgaria, above, is scheduled to present “The Dream of Gogol” Nov. 1 to 3 at the 10th Seoul Performing Arts Festival, which starts next month at venues around the city. Provided by the organizer

As the crisp fall air starts to settle in Seoul, a string of dance and theater festivals are announcing their schedules for the coming season. Three of these - the Theatre Olympics in Seoul, Seoul International Dance Festival and Seoul Performing Arts Festival - are annual events that reflect current trends in the performing arts scene.

5th Theatre Olympics in Seoul

This year, the Seoul Theatre Olympics features 48 performances from 13 different countries.

Theater groups from Korea, the United States, Japan, Russia, Greece and Turkey among others, will showcase experimental works from up-and-coming theater directors for 45 days, beginning last Friday.

Noteworthy performances coming from abroad include “When We Dead Awaken,” from Chorus Repertory Theatre and director Ratan Thiyam, a provocative reimagining of Henrik Ibsen’s famous last work. Another piece from overseas is “Orpheus in the Metro,” a one-man show set against the backdrop of a subway station. It combines the epic Greek myth and short story “Manuscript Found in a Pocket” by writer Julio Cortazar.

From Korea, Nottle Theatre Company’s “Woyzeck” is a movement-theater piece based on the unfinished play by Georg Buchner; the Sanwoollim Theater Company’s celebrated “Waiting for Godot,” which has run for more than 20 years at its home near Hongik University; Theatre Company Michoo’s world premiere of “Below the Equator of Macbeth;” and two pieces by Mokwha Repertory Company: “Dressing Room” and “Chun-pung’s Wife.” Dressing Room explores the structure of Japanese drama while Chun-pung’s Wife is a satirical play that pokes fun at Korean drama. The festival continues through Nov. 7 at various venues including the National Theater of Korea, Myeongdong Art Hall, Namsan Art Center, Daehangno Art Theater and Arko Arts Theater. Call (02) 747-2903 or visit

13th Seoul International Dance Festival

This year’s festival offers 63 performances from 20 countries. In celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and Spain, there will be presentations of a variety of Spanish dance styles from flamenco to modern and including performances by Joaquin Grilo, former choreographer of the National Ballet of Spain.

The opening piece of this series will be performed by DanzAbierta from Cuba, which presents a rich mixture of dance, music, theater and singing. Lebanese artist Omar Rajeh’s “The Assassination of Omar Rajeh” is a timely piece that centers on the significance of the written word in Arab society and the dangers of expressing dissenting opinions.

Portuguese choreographer Vera Mantero applies her highly visceral movement language to the solo “One Mysterious Thing” and Japanese company Pappa Tarahumara brings its layered brand of theatrical dance to bear in a performance that is the culmination of a three-year collaborative exchange with Korean artists called “Swift Project.”

The festival program also includes the Korean Identity through Dance series for emerging choreographers, the Asia-Africa-South America Dance Exchange project, as well as contemporary and traditional dance performances by renowned Korean companies. The festival starts tomorrow and ends Oct. 20 at the Towol Theater, Jayu Theater, Hoam Art Hall, Sejong M Theater and others. Call (02) 3216-1185 or visit

10th Seoul Performing Arts Festival

Ranging from theater and dance to impromptu street performances, this year’s Seoul Performing Arts Festival offers 28 works from Korea, Russia, Belgium, France, Lithuania, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Poland.

The schedule includes classic works and experimental pieces, including productions of three French comedies by Moliere, “The Storm” from Russia, and “Quixotage,” a famous Polish street drama. The organizers are also presenting “Rhinoceros,” a collaborative work by artists from Korea and France. Other performances include “Showroomdummies” and “Urban Ballet” from France and “Oooo-The Dream of Gogol” from Bulgaria, which celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of N.V. Gogol.

The festival runs from Oct. 2 to Nov. 14 at the Arko Arts Theater, Daehangno Arts Theater, Seoul Arts Center, Sejong Center, Namsan Arts Center, Sogang University’s Mary Hall, Yeouido Park, Gwanghwamun Square and other locations. Call (02) 3673-2561 or visit

By Park Suk-ie []
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