January 28th, 2011
I felt pretty under the weather, especially in the morning, despite the ginger tea and the vitamin C I've been eating.
I don't know if I should say that I am unlucky today, or to say that I had two very close calls. First in the afternoon practice session for Act 3 (Bibi), 희수 Heesu, in the excitement of the moment, managed to knock over my tripod and video camera (which was on the lowest height possible) (I was using my camera at that moment, but the video was still recording). The tripod broke, one leg completely snapped off--which honestly is crappy construction because Heesu didn't hit it hard. But the tripod cost a tiny fraction of what the video camera, which was completely unscathed, cost. Then less than an hour later, after afternoon practice was mostly done, I was interviewing 이윤석 Yi Yunseok (the Human Treasure, so this is like the MOST important interview here) and my voice recorder batteries died. But I noticed it. I may have lost as much as 15 minutes. But I recorded more than 30 minutes on the new batteries, including going back and trying to ask the first questions in a different way (to the extent possible without taking up too much of Yi's valuable time).
Otherwise, in the morning we had practice which was essentially talking people through Act 2 (Yangban), and then having them actually run through it. There was a huge difference between the KNUA team and the other team, even though many of the performers have changed (most, except 민기 Min'gi is still the key character of 말뚝이 Malddugi (though the other key character of 원양반 Won Yangban was 기영 Giyeong and now it's 정우 Jeong-u). They saw it last week, and they had a very good idea of what to do (and had also, when needed talked about it among themselves). The contrast with the other team was extreme. After lunch the same thing continued, but with more rehearsal of Act 3 and a group run through of both Act 1 and Act 4. The entire day was supervised by 전광열 Jeon Gwangyeol. At the end of the afternoon practice 하현갑 Ha Hyeon'gap performed the monk's dance in clothes but no mask and 대천 Daecheon and 창열 Changyeol ran through Bibi to everyone's delight.
At lunch time I walked to town again, they would have made curry for me without the meat in it, but I've never been a fan of Korean curry mix. I bought a coffee for Min'gi and set it out in the main hall with a note written by the office manager on it, but I think they still figured out it was me. Oh well. I tried. (This is because I drew his name and have to do nice things for him). But because they figured out it was me, I have to do his final day of cleaning while he relaxes (according to the rules, anyway). I also bought a side dish for tomorrow's breakfast, partially because it was good, and partially because of SBS coming back, but then they called and said they're not coming back. I'm actually really relieved. I just don't have the energy. If they were coming back they'd be here during evening rehearsal. Which would make it harder to do interviews and stuff. I interviewed 최영호 Choi Yeongho before the morning class and 경진 Gyeongjin before dinner, then like I said Yi Yunseok, and later I interviewed Daecheon and then 이재훈 Yi Jaehun, who is a 전수교육조교 2nd ranked (below human treasure) member of the group. Sometime during that interview my voice recorder ran out of room, we were talking until midnight, I hope I got most of it.
The evening practice was just more and more run throughs for both groups (except 윤만 Yunman was sick so he couldn't run through his scene and 솔지 Solji from the drama group 북재통 substituted for him. After the last rehearsal I was interviewing but when I finished that I learned we were having a big 뒤풀이 duipuli with everyone there. The KNUA students didn't bring anything (alcohol or food) which was embarrassing, but I wasn't there long, anyway. Shortly after I got there 황종욱 Hwang Jong'uk made an appearance, he sat with me and we talked about how to improve festivals and performance environments, we may (at least he said we would, but let's see if it happens) go to 안동 Andong together and talk to those guys about what needs to change, how to improve the festival. Then Changyeol fetched Hwang and told me to come and meet them at our place, which I did after a few minutes. We drank and every member gave their little wrap up of the experience speech. I went to bed at 2:00 because I had to wake up to make breakfast in the morning.