Tradition and Thrilling Experiments in Late November

As the leaves are falling and it’s getting cold outside, what about a bit of sori to warm up? This month, several interesting performances take place in Seoul, including both traditional and experimental approaches towards pansori. These are some suggestions:

  • Saturday, November 24th: The monthly full-length-pansori-performance (완창판소리), this time by Yeom Gyeong-ae (염경애, some background info), who performs Simcheong-ga in the “river-and-mountain-style” (강산제 심청가), at the Small Hall “Dal” at 3 pm (entrance fee: 20,000 won, phone: 02-2280-4114).
  • Saturday, November 24th: This is not exactly pansori, but what sounds like a very interesting concert, coupling the group “Gomul” (음악동인古物, lit. “old things”), that performs on traditional Korean instruments, with “Bard”, the “only traditional Irish music band in Korea”. Hear haegeum, gayageum and piri, as well as mandolin, accordion and bodhrán. The concert which is fittingly named “Beyond Borders” (경계를 넘어서) takes place at KOUS (한국문화의 집) from 5 – 7 pm (entrance fee: 20,000 won, phone: 02-3011-1720~1).
  • Sunday, November 25th: A performance of Chunhyang-ga in the style of Kim Sejong (김세종제 춘향가) at Folk Theatre Pungnyu (민속극장 풍류) in Gangnam. The performance starts at 5 pm and there is no entrance fee!
  • Thursday, November 29: A two-singer version of The Story of Simcheong (심청이야기) at Bukchon Changwoo Theater (북촌창우극장). Kim So-jin (김소진) as the girl Simcheong and Go Jun-seok (고준석) as her blind father Simbongsa, backed up by a gugak-quartet promise an interesting show that, according to director Kim Sngkn (김승근) will take a different approach to musically telling traditional stories than, for example, changgeuk or musicals. Is is part of the “Korean Music Project” (창작음악 시리즈), a series of weekly performances of various experimental kinds of music (entrance fee: 10,000 won, phone: 02-747-3809)
  • November 23 – 29: The pansori-ensemble Badak Sori (바닥소리) presents its classic piece of “cruel sori-theatre” (잔혹소리극) Hae-nim, Dal-nim (해님 달님, “The Sun and the Moon”) at the Stage Factory Hall (스테이지 팩토리홀). Performances are weekdays at 8 pm, on the weekends 3 and 6 pm (entrance fee: 25,000 won, phone: 070-4407-8552).
  • November 27 – 30: Janghwa and Hongryeon (장화홍련) at the National Theater—what seems to be a very ambitious attempt at a “thriller changgeuk” (스릴러 창극) by renown director Han Taesuk (한태숙). I wrote a short blurp on this at the season’s start (see my post), also there are some pictures from the press conference at the National Theater’s (recently quite active) official blog. Performances take place on the large stage (해오름 극장), daily at 8 pm (entrance fee: 20,000–70,000 won, phone: 02-2280-4114~5).

Well, it will be a tough choice, I guess… I won’t be able to see all these shows, I guess, so I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts!

— 16 Nov. 2012 (金)

About Jan Creutzenberg

Jan Creutzenberg, friend of theatre, music, and cinema, comments on his performative experiences in Seoul and elsewhere.
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