Friday, March 25, 2011

From K-Arts to Bongsan Talchum to the Seoul History Museum

March 23rd, 2011
The research activity of the day was to go see the 한국종합예술학교 K-Arts students practice 고성오광대 Goseong Ogwangdae again. Karjam came with me, expressing his desire not to go basically at every moment. We arrived right at 8, and some students were eating dinner still. However they started before too long. 태환 Taehwan announced the performance date—May 7th.

They did basic motions with 희수, 혜미, 재윤, 준영 playing instruments. Then they did act one, Taehwan felt a big heavier in his motions. As he practiced 윤만 was practicing his own stuff, while 혜미 and 정운 were in the back of the room eating dinner.

Next they practiced act three, but they kept stopping and taking things again. 만희, 준영, 정우, everyone basically was on 희수's case for continually screwing it up. He must have a hard time remembering stage blocking. As for 만희 he got very little correction, but when he did he responded that 창열 had said he was doing it right but 대천 had agreed with the critique, so he was trying to find a middle ground.

Act two was next and 정우 looked a lot more masculine. They went through the act with no interruptions, although at one point 민기 just announced that he'd take his line over again (and did so). Afterwards they had a discussion of what went right and what needs to change. 정우 and 민기 get in a discussion about where (on the stage) to do the dialogue. 민기 says "when the teachers perform, 원양반 does a circle like this right in the center." And acts it out.

Act five was next. 준영 had hurt his leg and couldn’t move very well, but it almost worked better (certainly funnier). They took the parts several times esp. the part with the two songs, trying to get the timing all right. During one of his parts 윤만 tells everyone "don't laugh" because he's having a hard time due to difficulty keeping a straight face.

Last of all they practice act 4, and the two "ladies" are played by 정운 and 재윤(not the normal actors) and they totally goof around making it hard for 경진 to concentrate, but it's all in good fun.

At the end of the practice the students completely confirmed my absolutely positive impression of them. They were so awesome. They all came and sat down in front of Karjam and introduced themselves as a group and asked him to introduce himself and then to sing. And then Karjam asked them to sing (they sang a mourning song from 진도 씻김 굿) and then they asked me to give them feedback on the days rehearsal (my general feedback was that they were getting so much better and that now they were more comfortable with the roles they'd be able to fix the little things). Karjam was happy on the way home. He was definitely impressed.

March 24th, 2011
The research activity of the day was to go to 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum class, but I was a bit late because of the sudden heavy wet snow shower that snarled traffic. In class we had 12 people not including 김은주 Kim Eunju but including 인수 Insu who was there to practice his drumming accompaniment skills (which meant that Eunju was able to move around and teach without drumming). 박용철 Bak Yongcheol had brought another of his troupe people, a huge man, to class. 현석 Hyeonseok was there, too. And I felt guilty I hadn't come earlier, he'd been there waiting since 5:30 without dinner since his family doesn't have the money to spare. I guess I need to feed him every week as well as paying his tuition (to be fair, he doesn't know I do that). We practiced all the way through the monk parts and did lion dance at the end.

March 25th, 2011
On Friday I spent hours with 지수 Jisu again, then rushed home, changed, and went to a meeting of "Pine and Tiger" (a special group for discussion of issues related to tourism/expressing Korean culture to foreigners) which was a bit unsatisfying as Director 엄승용 Eom Seungyong was so late and we just couldn't have the meeting right without him. We did, however, tour the 서울역사박물관 Seoul History Museum. It is devoid of English, but actually has a lot of awesome displays—photos from the late 50s and early 60s, a display of items from daily life, and a great diorama of the city. After touring around we went to dinner, half way through Eom Seungyong finally joined us. The group didn't really jell, although I think I made a great impression on the two Korean members. Karjam and I saw "The King's Speech" in the evening.

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