Friday, December 31, 2010

Ta-ak Project at KOUS

December 29th, 2010
Wednesday was less insanely snowy/icy and cold than the day before, but I didn't do a whole lot since it's my normal day off, except we went to watch "The Next Three Days" in the movie theatre. Solid movie. I wanted to watch "Tron: Legacy" but couldn't convince Karjam—at least his choice was good.

December 30th, 2010
I had my rescheduled 상모 sangmo class from two p.m. until almost four. 이종휘 Yi Jonghui was awake all night driving back from snowboarding so he was a bit tired, but class was good. We have a new member, 광호 Gwangho, who has already learned more than I have (but not as much as 현석 Hyeonseok). Class went pretty well, and Jonghui and I talked a lot about his performance (he was embarrassed with some mistakes that were hardly noticeable) and we discussed general arts politics. I need to formally interview him, however. Hopefully I'll be able to do a week of sangmo class the same week he'll be teaching at 필봉 Pilbong.

I went home and made a quick dinner, Karjam was nowhere to be seen, before I headed to KOUS for another show, this time that of the 타악프로젝트 Ta'ak (percussion) Project. The Ta'ak Project is basically just 고석진 Go Seokjin and 최영진 Choi Yeongjin. Seokjin is in 고성오광대Goseong Ogwangdae and Yeongjin is in 봉산탈춤Bongsan Talchum, so I know them both. I went to the performance with the 봉천놀이마당 Bongcheon Noli Madang people (are you starting to see how interconnected all these traditional arts are?), and after the performance two of them (and I) went to the after-party to congratulate the artists on finishing their three performance run. I won't say more about the performance right now because I'm working on a whole long review of it, but I'll just paste in this one paragraph—please comment!

To see the scissors performed in the high-status KOUS hall has an extra cultural dimension for the Korean audience. Scissors, in Korea, were traditionally rhythmically clacked together by street salesmen of handmade taffy and nut brittles. These salesmen would sing as they manipulated the scissors in a showy but utilitarian way to cut and break up large chunks of taffy. The playing of scissors has never been known to be virtuosic, and is often associated with beggars, cross-dressers and other examples of the lowest rung of Korean traditional society. Go's scissors performance was virtuosic. Trained as a drummer and dancer for the mask dance drama Goseong Ogwangdae Go utilized the entire stage opening and closing the scissors and hitting the left and right hand scissors together in a fast and complicated rhythm. Pivots and leaps are followed by quick steps adapted from pungmul and Goseong Ogwangdae, in his white dress shirt, black dress pants and silver and black silk vest I realize that this is an appropriation of the lowest of Korean art forms, recreated as high brow art.

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