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.
Pepper Jamie PacMan Ringwald-Swanson is my cat. He was a stray cat, most likely abandoned by some college student after flunking out or graduating. One night he came around my place in Stillwater and Pepper got yellow paint all over him after brushing against my freshly painted Ms. PacMan Halloween costume.
After a hotdog and a can of tuna he was mine. Pepper is a great cat and very smart and surprisingly dog like. For the record Chad and I are dog people. My luck with cats is very slim. My first cat Miss Kitty (named after the character in Gunsmoke) was pecked to death by a flock of birds, no joke that’s messed up. My second cat Shasta Cream Soda disappeared only after a few weeks. So luck with cats is not my strong suit. But Pepper has stuck around for a year and 8 months. For about 7 months we thought Pepper was a girl. He’s a boy, sorry I’m no expert in feline genitalia.
So why am I giving you my cat’s life story? Well it comes down to karma, fate, divine intervention whatever you want to call it. Chad and I took Pepper in off the streets right before the cold winter months and have loved and cared for him ever since; we’ve made him a part of our family. But bringing Pepper to Korea with us will be no small task. We need a place that is pet friendly and the original schools that were offered to us (Yeongdeungpo and Gangseo) unfortunately do not offer pet friendly housing. It was a huge bummer because both those districts are awesome college districts, with tons of bars, clubs, and other amazing hangouts. But the HR manager found me a school that did have pet friendly housing and as luck would have it, it’s located close to the famous Daehangno District. And this district is the center of Korean independent and experimental theatre!!!!!
So God/karma/fate all of them works in mysterious ways, Pepper who we thought was going to be a burden to bring over-seas ended up placing me smack dab in the middle of what I want to study the most– Asian theatre! He was a blessing in paint covered cat fur.