Day 2: We walked around Dongdaemun and did some shopping. Then we walked from Dongdaemun to Jonggak Station along the Cheonggyecheon Stream. If you know the subway route it’s about 3 subway stops on line 1 the dark blue line. It was a long but fun walk. We saw this grandfather walking with his grandson teaching him about the fish in the stream. The kid was no more than 2 or 3 years old. I actually could understand what he was saying. It was a very sweet little moment. We took a couple of pictures and enjoyed the scenery. The stream is a beautiful oasis in this urban jungle.
Then we met up with Jamie and went to Myeongdong. At Myeongdong we visited the Myeongdong Cathedral and lit a couple of candles. Its Neo-Gothic architecture is something to admire. Kyle met us for a late lunch and then we went to see Nanta. Nanta is amazing even if you’ve see it before.
Tomorrow is another adventure, stay tuned!!
I hate how they spell theatre. Oh well, lost in translation I guess…. It was so cool to go to The National Theater of Korea. And it’s on Namsan Mountain. That is my favorite place in Seoul. It’s so peaceful and beautiful there. Even the air is fresher there. There are several different theatres there. There is the main hall named “Hae” that’s a proscenium stage and seats 1,563. Then there is the small hall called “Dal” that is also proscenium and seats 427 and is home of the Changgeuk company. Then there is the KB Haneul Youth Theater which seats 732 is the very first domed theatre for the youth in Korea. Lastly there is the “Byeol” Studio theatre that seats about 100. There is also a museum for the performing arts too. Can’t wait to go see more theatre there!!
One of my kinder students gave his main teachers some tickets to a musical. Luckily for me, my co-teacher Makala couldn’t go so she gave the tickets to me. And free tickets to theatre, you think Charlet Ringwald is gonna pass that up?!?! However, to be honest, I was a little unsure about it, the tickets were all in Korean and the details I got were shaky. But it was at The National Theater of Korea so it sounded cool. The National Theater of Korea is nestled on the slope of Namsan Mountain and I’ve been dying to go. I found out that the musical stars a Kpop idol, Kim Junsu (or Xiah as he’s more widely known) and Brad Little a Broadway actor and a theatre super stars here in Asia. Once I found that out and realized what a big deal the show really was I was super excited!! And I’m so glad a little uncertainty didn’t prevent me from going because it was amazing! It was a great show: bittersweet love story, with fantastic singing and spectacular tech. You know a shows good when it has some tech tricks I can’t figure out. Even though most of it was in Korean they have giant screens with subtitles and along with what Korean I have learned and the acting, it was super easy to follow. Overall it was an amazing experience (that was free thanks again Makala!) and I hope when it goes to Broadway they keep it in Korean!!
This is old news but I wanted to share it with everyone out there, especially theatre lovers.
So this was during the Chuseok Holiday vacation we had last September 20-23. Chad and I went to see this original Korean Musical called Miso which means “beautiful smile” in Korean. It had no dialogue, a little bit of singing from the “mother” character and during the wedding scene at the end. The story is from a traditional Korean love story it’s considered Korea’s Romeo and Juliet (but with a happy ending) the theatre’s website describes it as:
” ‘MISO’ is a narrative set in the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) that tells of how an encounter between a certain young man and woman leads to an ardent love that matures throughout the progress of the four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter. Dazzling spectacles of traditional Korean culture, including traditional dance, instrumental music, “phungmulnori” (a traditional folk musical act featuring a percussion quartet) and “pansori” (a type of traditional narrative vocal music) meld with this beautiful tale of romance, and is sure to enrapture not only our Korean audiences but visitors from overseas as well.”
The best part, I got pull on stage. One of the actors picked me out of the crowd and I got to spin and toss plates with the actors on stage. They couldn’t have pick a better 미국 사람 (Mi Gook or American) to come on stage. It was the best moment I’ve had in Korea. After the plate spinning they let me keep the pipe.
Other than that it had AMAZING lighting. The best I’d ever seen (sorry Lion King) but it was spectacular. There was this part in the river and the water was shown onstage by lighting and as each girl danced in the water it created ripples! I’m a pretty savvy techie and I’m not quite sure how they did that.
I can’t wait to see more Korean theatre!!
Nanta Cookin! is Korea’s most popular and famous theatre performance. It takes the traditional Korean percussion music called Samul nori and modernizes for a younger and foreign audience. It non-verbal performance makes it easy for foreigners and Korean to enjoy. They even added a story to make it more entertaining and easier for the audience to follow. The musical has a simple back story of three cooks attempting to finish preparing a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff. The show involves acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation.
It’s Korea’s longest running show and plays at 3 different theatres throughout Seoul and one theatre in Jeju Island.