Sunday, October 3, 2010

Second Saturday at the Mask Dance Festival

October 2nd, 2010
The morning really started with the performance of ‘오광대’ Ogwangdae, which of course is not a performance, but part of the name of three nationally registered and one locally registered mask dance all of which include as a key section the play of the five clowns (that’s the common translation anyway, I’m still not sure if I like it), that being O=five and Gwangdae=clowns. In this case, since 고성오광대 Goseong Ogwandae performed last week (before they left for a performance tour in the US), the two performance troupes were 통영오광대 Tongyeong Ogwangdae and 가산오광대 Gasan Ogwangdae. They performed back to back with no break, but without any common performance time (last week the lion dances had performed sort of together). Speaking of lions, Tongyeong has a one man lion, then a two man lion comes and eats it and the two man lion becomes a three man lion with six legs. Tongyeong was first, and it was immeasurably much more engaging than Gasan Ogwangdae. I actually like the Gasan masks, they are funky paper things in most cases, looking like something made in kindergarten, but in a couple cases they are very very furry, including 말뚝기 Maldduggi, who actually wears his mask so much on top of his head that the actor needs to bend his neck to show the audience the face full on. Gasan and Tonyeong, although their overall content is very similar, showed different scenes to make things better for the audience, I’m sure they worked that out in advance. Maybe it was just because of the way the choice worked out but during the Gasan performance I felt like they talked way too much, there was much less dancing and acting and much more standing around and talking. Because most of these Ogwangdae and Yayu mask dance dramas differ most in mask construction and the identity of their mystical-type beast who comes to threaten the 양반 yangban, I will have to review in order to see if Gasan really is that verbal or if it was just my impression based on what they performed today. Since I’ve mentioned it for other groups, in the case of Tongyeong there was a large (largest) seated group of musicians on the side. Gasan had a normal sized standing group along the back in the flower hats.
Photos: Gasan Ogwangdae. Check out those masks!

Photos: Tongyeong Ogwangdae. Hunter kills the lion.

Again I felt that good announcing could have helped so much for the audience to understand, there wasn’t even any text displayed on the large TVs at the start of the scene (some dramas have submitted their description and the explanation of which scene’s they will perform, then this is shown on the TV to give an overview as the scene starts). The audience however, was huge. Last night I had counted all my surveys (I came with 100 ) and was a little surprised that I had 11 that had not been returned to me. This morning when I arrived the volunteers gave me six more from yesterday. I also passed out surveys this morning, and again before the even more packed Saturday evening showing of 하회별신굿탈놀이 Hahoi Byeolshin’gut Talnoli.

Georgy and 진홍 Jinhong accompanied me to the evening showing, they had shown up in the middle of the afternoon just as Karjam and I were going to go look for real food (outside the festival grounds) and right after he’d chosen a full set of quilted winter 한복hanbok (in all grey, the color of monks clothing… not sure how I feel about that) and I bought a natural died with earth hanbok shirt, it’s a bit orange, a bit yellow-brown. We had also watched part of a shamanic ceremony and gone to a big Korean food festival they were holding nearby the mask dance festival. Karjam took video cuts of EVERY table of the food, I took quite a few photos, too, before I got roped into a live interview over the PA system and on the giant TV at the front of the hall. Karjam and Jinhong went looking for food, Georgy and I found her a hanbok shirt.

The Hahoi Byeolshin’gut Talnoli performance was, of course, very slick. We were in the front row, I was pissed on (by the cow) and Georgy had to go up and dance (with 이매 Imae). Fortunately there were other scenes than last time I saw it last weekend, although two scenes were the same. I think I got some good photos, anyway. We had dinner with Georgy and Jinhong before they drove back to 대구 Daegu. Tomorrow we will leave 안동 Andong after the 송파산대놀이 Songpa Sandae Noli performance. A little bitter sweet. It’s been like a mini-vacation and an intense period of research combined.

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