Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thoughts on Introducing Performances

August 25th, 2010
So the other day when I was at the 송파산대놀이Songpa Sandae Noli performance, when the tight-rope guy wasn’t ready at the right time (he’d already performed twice that day, down in Suwon at the folk village there) then 함완식 Hahm Wanshik (Human Treasure) had to buy time (some of which he bought through making me dance as I already said) but he also started to give people a sort of lesson in traditional stuff—he did the things I would have done—he walked over to the musicians and introduced each instrument and had them play a tiny bit. He didn’t start getting into anything heavy or advanced—there was no attempt to discuss the importance of tradition, and he didn’t go back and talk about Songpa Sandae Noli which Professor 이병옥 Yi Byeongok had introduced. I think a problem that’s happening is that everyone gets so little time to perform, never even the amount of time necessary to do a full performance (of course a full performance of Songpa Sandae Noli can be over four hours) so when given a one hour slot, or even a forty minute slot, giving up some time to an extensive introduction is the last thing they want to do. But the audience needs it so that they can really have a handle on how to approach/view something that’s become so foreign to most Koreans they’re not capable of being an educated audience. They have more practice being an educated audience for Western classical music, which denotes that you have education and class, and have a better grasp on the names for those instruments, even though they’re foreign names.

In other news, we’ve come down to Daegu today, and met up with dear friends Georgy and 박진홍Jinhong. We’ll stay here for a couple days reconnecting before heading back to Seoul.

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