Sunday, December 12, 2010

Back to Seoul and Songpa Sandae Noli

December 11th, 2010
We woke up and packed and left for the bus station without either Jinhong or Georgy waking up. The ride back to Seoul was uneventful. However as soon as we got off the bus it was apparent that the temps in Seoul were well below freezing. When we got to our apartment and turned on the boiler, it said it was 7 degrees Celsius inside! Dang!

I quickly changed and rushed to 송파산대놀이 Songpa Sandae Noli for our last rehearsal of 2010. The KTV guy, contrary to my expectations (but true to his word) came back. We had a full turn out of all the folks at rehearsal, but first 이병옥교수님 Professor Yi Byeong’ok gave us a short lecture on Songpa Sandae Noli. Increasingly as he talked you could see that 함완식 Ham Wanshik (the National Human Treasure and dominant personality, while Yi is the rank below) wanted to butt in, he had things that he thought needed to be explained. Fortunately since he’d set up the agenda after awhile he was able to take center stage, first he began by filling in what he perceived to be needed gaps in Yi’s explanation (principally he talked about how the area changed with the flood in the 1920s and so on). Then he went off, like last week, about how 삼현육각 Samhyeon yuk’gak music includes 가야금 gayageum and what not. After a long explanation he asked the music experts in the room if he was right, at which point one of them was brave enough to try to say he was not, but Ham only partially listened to his opinion. I think this situation was complicated by having the KTV guy filming everything. Bad enough to object to something privately, worse in front of the group, even worse to be caught on camera objecting to what someone has said.

We then had basic exercises with an almost full musical accompaniment, followed by a rehearsal of scene 4, 북놀이 Buk Noli. The scene was rehearsed twice, first with sort of the standard group acting out the parts, then 양흥기 Yang Heunggi and 함승훈 Ham Seunghun played the main roles for a second run through of the main parts of the act. Ham Seunghun needed to hold the 대사집 script book in his hand as he rehearsed. Next they rehearsed 말뚝이놀이 Malddugi’s Scene, but didn’t really switch things up so we could get done and leave (Ham Wanshik had told people we’d be done at 4 but we weren’t and people were starting to get restive).

We all went to a restaurant for dinner, it was just a short walk away and I walked with 서병무 Seo Byeongmu. I really like him when he’s not drunk and trying to speak English to me, when he’s sober his English is not that bad (but he doesn’t speak it to me when he’s sober, only to Karjam). Koreans are often very reticent about their English ability until they get drunk, thinking that their English is better just because they’re not so embarrassed to try to speak. Sad, really, because no one speaks better after they’re drunk than when they’re sober.

I arrived before “my” crowd which was a bit awkward, but after 김영숙 Kim Yeongsuk arrived she moved around where everyone was sitting until I ended up with 탄종원 Tahn Jongwon, the videographer (안석재 An Seokjae), and the 해금 haegeum player (윤지희 Yun Jihee), with Kim Yeongsuk, 이연순 Yi Yeonsun, 전경희 Jeon Gyeonghee and 장규식 Jang Gyushik next to us. We toasted the end of the year and to Songpa Sandae Noli’s success in the next year.

Yang Heunggi drove me to 용산 Yongsan since he had the night shift at the hospital.


Photos of rehearsal 1st Tahn Jongwon rehearses Buk Noli, 2nd Ham Seunghun with the script book, 3rd Malddugi (김명하 Kim Myeongha) drives out the yangban (Jang Gyushik is the last in the line of yangban)




At the restaurant:

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