Thursday, September 30, 2010

10 Years with my Husband

September 30th, 2010
We had to sprint (literally, with heavy bags and awkward instruments) to get to the bus station in time for the 8:40 bus (buses leave less than once an hour from the 강남 Gangnam Terminal to 안동 Andong). In Andong Karjam insisted that we not stay in the 여인숙 yeo’insuk (boarding house) again, but rather get something better. I looked down a row of motels and at the end was a small old 여관 yeogwan (the sort of place you can pay for by the hour when you’re cheating on your wife, but also nice if you’re on a budget). We went there and checked out a room, it was at the end of the hallway with a bathroom between us and the neighbors (just in case anything preposterously noisy happens) and I bargained the owner down to 20,000 per night in advance in cash.

I was given a choice for when Karjam would perform at the Andong International Mask Dance Festival but I wanted him on the mask dance performance stage on the same day I’d first seen him there—and that was September 30th (2000), a Saturday then, it was a Thursday this year (not a high attendance day) but that was less important to me. In the dressing room Karjam sang softly as he warmed up, playing me the song he’d written about our relationship (it’s on his 2007 CD). A few minutes before he was to go on I staked out a great spot in the front row, set up his video camera and got my camera in order. The performance went absolutely great, he sounded so good, and there was nothing wrong with the sound system, either—I will definitely upload those videos to Youtube.

Just a couple minutes after Karjam ended was the one Korean mask dance performance of the day, 동래야류 Dongnae Yayu. I managed to distribute a fair number of surveys (with pens and my introduction slip) before the performance started. I need to count the total number of papers I now have to see how many I gave out, at any rate I got 22 back, which is either the same number or very close to what I gave out. Koreans are very cooperative about such things. However, I wonder how many read my intro (most gave it back, although the point of a separate paper was that they could keep it, it has my email and invites them to contact me with any additional thoughts about the topic). Also most just turned it in to the door on the way out and I wasn’t able to give out many of the answer sheets (well, I guess I’m glad I only copied 60 even though I have 100 surveys). As expected many couldn’t answer the hard questions (a lot of complete blanks, an equal number of wrong answers), but this is also a result, particularly if it corresponds with those who say they don’t normally go to traditional performances).

The performance, well, I was really impressed. The best thing they did? There was a very mellow voiced man who came over the PA system and explained some of what was going on during the show, so the characters are all yelling and what not and he explains in simple modern language what they’re yelling about. This is, in my opinion, really needed. I will go back and listen and watch the video again so that I can make a note of how often (was it everywhere I’d have put it if it was me?) and how effective it was to differentiate the explanation from what the characters were saying, and so on. I also just LOVE their huge 말뚝기 Maldduggi mask. It was awesome, and a lot of their dancers were really good. They had 길놀이 gilnori (playing music and parading to the performance to attract more audience) and everyone came in together with a lot of people drumming (none of them changed clothes and emerged as dancers, they were drummers only), the drummers, approximately a dozen, stood at the back to the entire performance. The play itself is very similar in content to 고성오광대 Goseong Ogwangdae, with a different semi-mythical beast coming to plague a 양반 yangban (upper class literati). The largest story difference is that the old wife drives off the concubine, but then ends up killed by her husband anyway.

Photos: Dongnae Yayu masks-- oversized Maldduggi, hairy Yangban and movable jaws on many masks.

For the rest of the evening Karjam and I observed our 10 year anniversary in various ways, it was very sweet.

Photos: off my cell, i won't process anything off my good camera until I go back to Seoul

Photo: Not off my cell!

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