This summer I’m busy with conferencing – one each month, beginning later this July! All three papers I present (and currently prepare) are quite different but share the theme of trans/intercultural exchange and adaptation. One is (mainly) about the past, two about the present and future. Two are about spoken, one about sung theatre. Two feature references to tradition (in modern times), one is about building an own tradition. And two relate to Germany while one is about Korean-US-relations. Lastly, the very first one is in Germany (see poster on the right), while the other two are in Korea – looking forward to a hot academic summer!
I have used the following hashtags when blogging or tweeting (@JanCreutzenberg) about my ongoing research, which might be of interest to some:
Anyways, my schedule for this summer is as follows (my abstracts, information on the respective panels and links to the full program are below):
First, I talk about the encounters between controversial Korean theatre maker Yu Chi-jin (유치진 / 柳致眞, 1905–74) and the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1950s and 60s, which ultimately led to the foundation of the Seoul Drama Center (서울 드라마센타, today: Namsan Arts Center, 남산예술센터) where some of the earliest experiments with traditional performing arts (as a means for theatre) took place in the 70s. While I wrote and presented on this latter part, the “search for ‘our’ roots in the world of theatre” on various occasions, the historical background (Cold War) and the role of US-foundations are new for me and I hope for interesting discussions and insights. (Munich, Tuesday, July 24, 2pm).
Second, continuing my research for last year’s “Pansori in Europe”-symposium in Berlin, I will discuss some examples of Korean-German collaborations between pansori singers and other artists. You can expect to see and hear some excerpts from works by/with So Sol-i (서솔이), Choe Yong-seok (최용석, of Badak Sori / 판소리공장 바닥소리), and Park In-hye (박인혜, of Heebie Jeebie Juice / 창작집단 희비쌍곡선). This talk is part of a panel that I co-convened with Anna Yates-Lu and Barbara Wall, plus pansori singer Min Hye Sung (민혜성), who regularly performs abroad. The panel is titled “Crossing Boundaries: Beyond the Borders of P’ansori”, and will take place in the heart of Korean traditional music, the National Gugak Center (국립국악원) – eolssigu! (Seoul, Tuesday, 21 Aug., 3.50pm)
Finally, I will take some first steps into the undiscovered territory of foreign language plays performed by college students (Kor. “weon-eo-geuk” / 원어극, lit. “original-language-drama”). As a lecturer at Sungshin University and now at Ewha Womans University, I have participated in the production of some plays, most recently Corpus Delicti (at Ewha, 2018) and Diebe (at Sungshin, 2017). Here, I will consider the repertories of German-language college drama in order to find out possible motivations that go into the making of this very special, highly charming form of transcultural theatre. (Gyeongju, Saturday, Sept. 29, 2pm, in German)
— 24 July 2018 (火) / 21 August 2018 (火) / 29 September 2018 (土)
These are the abstracts of my presentations, as well as additional information on the conferences and links to the full programs.
International Conference “Philanthropy, Development, and the Arts: Histories and Theories”
Munich, Carl Friedrich von Siemens-Stiftung, 23–25 July, 2018, organized by the ERC project Developing Theatre, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany, conference homepage: philanthropyconference2018.wordpress.com
Contemporary Korean Theatre, Courtesy of Uncle Sam? Yu Chi-jin, Rockefeller, and the Seoul Drama Center
Since the end of World War II and the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule, US-American policies influenced the cultural sphere in South Korea in many ways, as part of a global effort to integrate the region into a “Free Asia” in the face of communism. In this paper, I discuss the interactions between foreign benefactors and local players in post-colonial South Korea from the early 1950s to the late 1970s. I focus on director/playwright Yu Chi-jin’s engagement with the Rockefeller Foundation, which played a crucial role in the restoration of the war-struck theatre scene by offering Yu funding for the Seoul Drama Center, opened in 1962. Not only a state-of-the-art stage, the Drama Center also featured educational facilities and a research library, turning it into a hotbed for theatrical experimentation and innovation. Based on (auto-)biographical writings on Yu, internal documents of the Rockefeller Foundation, and news coverage in both countries, I explore how geopolitical agendas, cosmopolitan ambitions, audience expectations, and financial concerns contributed to the emergence of a new notion of contemporary, yet distinctively Korean theatre. In particular, the neo-traditional “search for roots”-movement, which originated at the Drama Center, at the crossroads of Western avant-garde and the revival of performing arts heritage, shows that the challenges that Korean theatre makers face today, in an increasingly international environment, date back to the Cold War and the ideology-driven globalization it encompassed.
Part of the panel “Grants in Aid for Theatre in Asia” (Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, 14:00–15:30, Chair: Rashna Nicholson)
* Contemporary Korean Theatre, Courtesy of Uncle Sam? (Jan Creutzenberg, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea, Department of German Language and Literature)
* Grants in Aid for Theatre in the 1950s: Severino Montano’s Initiatives at the Philippine Normal College, Manila (Nic Leonhardt, LMU Munich, ERC project Developing Theatre & Centre for Global Theatre History)
* Experiences of Theatre Funding from Development Agencies in Sri Lanka (Malshani Delgahapitiya, Arts Administrator, Colombo, Sri Lanka)
The 6th Symposium of the Study Group on Musics of East Asia
Seoul, National Gugak Center, 21–23 Aug. 2018, organized and hosted by the National Gugak Center (국립국악원) and the Korean Musicological Society (한국국악학회), conference homepage: http://www.measeoul2018.com
From Invitation and Promotion to Collaboration and Commission: Korean-German P’ansori Exchanges
Since the second half of the 20th century, p’ansori and other traditional Korean performing arts have served in the promotion of soft values or “nation branding,” often in the form of high-profile gala shows that combine various genres to a kaleidoscopic showcase of Korean culture, sometimes with K-Pop or contemporary classic added. Apart from these “official” events aimed at a large audience, however, Korean p’ansori performers increasingly engage in individual collaborations with artists abroad, often supported or commissioned by institutions in Korea or elsewhere. The resulting performances often stay under the radar of a general public, though, serving limited groups of spectators due to their themes, venues, and PR power. In this paper, I introduce and discuss recent cross-cultural p’ansori-projects that address different local and global audiences, focusing on artists based in Korea and Germany. The diversification of production and reception does not leave these artistic exchanges untouched by cultural politics, as many projects rely on funding or commissioning. Besides the interaction between performers and spectators, my comparison therefore also includes the role of institutions that considerably influence the emerging global landscape of p’ansori. What themes are tackled in cross-cultural collaborations and how much do they rely on tradition? Where and for whom is p’ansori performed? And how do cultural politics play in the selection of support and commissioning? In approaching these questions, I propose a perspective that acknowledges both the artists’ legitimate need of support and their ambitions to create p’ansori that audiences can relate to, in Korea and abroad.
Part of the panel “Crossing Boundaries: Beyond the Borders of P’ansori” (Session B2, Tuesday, 21 August, 2018, 15:50–17:50, Conference Room B – Pungnyu Theater, Chair: Barbara Wall)
- The Monkey King’s Journey into P’ansori: Kim Pyǒngjun’s “Ogong’s Account of Escape from Financial Depression” (Barbara Wall, University of Copenhagen)
- From Invitation and Promotion to Collaboration and Commission: Korean-German P’ansori Exchanges (Jan Creutzenberg, Ewha Womans University)
- Hallyu Through the Grassroots: The European P’ansori Scene (Anna Yates-Lu,, University of Oxford)
- Ten Years Crossing Borders: A Personal Account of Performing and Teaching P’ansori Outside Korea (Min Hye Sung, Hanyang University)
At a symposium in 1966, scholars controversially discussed whether the Korean singing-storytelling art form p’ansori should be classified as music, literature or theatre. Kang Han-yŏng gave maybe the most precise suggestion: “P’ansori is p’ansori,” as it defies conventional generic limits in remaining something completely of itself. More than forty years later, the generic limits of p’ansori continue to be tested and re-examined as p’ansori performers engage with other source material, genres and artists in attempting to engage with contemporary audiences. At the same time, the national borders around p’ansori are being opened up as it moves into the international scene. This panel examines the sites where p’ansori is crossing boundaries, be they generic or national. We address the introduction of new literary source material; German-Korean artist exchanges; p’ansori audiences and learners in Europe; and finally have a p’ansori performer describe her own experiences of crossing boundaries in the teaching and performance of p’ansori. Through this, we aim to paint a picture of a traditional genre not crystallized in an idealized past, but actively involved in the contemporary globalized world.
4. Internationales Sorak-Symposium (국제설악심포지엄)
Deutsch “spielen”: Studentisches Fremdsprachentheater in Korea
„Original-Sprachen-Drama“ (Won-eo-geuk), also fremdsprachiges Theater, hat an koreanischen Universitäten eine lange Tradition und spielte bei der Rezeption ausländischer Werke eine wichtige Rolle. Von der Forschung weitgehend ignoriert, erlaubt diese Form des transkulturellen Theaters – laut Günther Heeg “das privilegierte Medium einer anderen Welt-Erfahrung als der alltäglich gemachten” – schauspielenden Studierenden die spielerische Erprobung anderer Rollen und Identitäten. Anhand der Repertoires verschiedener Studierendenensembles soll untersucht werden, mit welchen Strategien Fremdsprachentheater als “Katalysator der Weltwerdung” fungieren kann. Was sagt die Auswahl der Stücke, Methoden der Adaption, Übersetzung und Neukreation, über das Verhältnis der Kulturen aus? Darauf aufbauende Diskussionen des spielerischen Umgangs mit dem Fremden, seiner Aneignung und Assimilation in interkulturellen Begegnungen, versprechen neue Zugänge zu einer Welt, deren (Sprach-)Grenzen heute unklarer denn je sind.
Part of the panel “Deutsch-Koreanische Begegnungen” (Session II B, Saturday, 29 September, 2018, 14:00–16:00, Chair: Kim Yeon Soo, Kangwon National Univ.)
- Deutsch „spielen“: Studentisches Fremdsprachentheater in Korea (Jan Creutzenberg, Ewha Womans Univ.)
- Koreabild im Dokumentarfilm „Im Land der Morgenstille“ (1924-25) (Iris Brose, Hongik Univ.)
- Zwischen der monotonen Veröffentlichung und der babylonischen Sprachverwirrung – Über die verschiedenen Übersetzungen des Begriffs „Öffentlichkeit“ in ostasiatischen Sprachen (Lee Hosung, Seoul National Univ.)