Friday, April 29, 2011

Bongsan Talchum Class, Changdeok Palace and Pansori!

April 25th, 2011
I wanted to get some actual work done so before meeting 지수 Jisoo for lunch mom and I went to Starbucks so I could put my headphones on and just concentrate on my writing. Lunch was quite delicious. In the afternoon we did a little shopping for mom. Had dinner, left for class.

This isn't my photography, but it's good photography, has the credit for the photographer and  it shows a great norigae
Tonight I had 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum and we arrived early enough to show mom the building a little bit, including the newly renovated shops on the first floor where the products made by the people in the system for the craft arts. There was a 10,000 dollar horsehair hat and other arts priced similarly. But they're all so beautiful, if I could afford a 1,500 dollar dangly 노리개 accessory for my hanbok I'd buy it! Class was a little odd because the performance (which so many class members are participating in) is Friday, and everyone was exhausted from rehearsals as well as their other duties. Almost everyone was late and no one had any energy for rehearsal. I did have a great talk with 김은주 Kim Eunju and박연식 Bak Yeonshik. I will be going with Yeonshik to observe him teaching classes (in public schools, teaching traditional performance skills and theory) on the 11th. I'm looking forward to that.

The biggest thing that I noticed and stuck in my head as necessary to write here is the common practice of having the performers sell tickets to the shows they perform in. Of course this doesn't extend to many traditional performances, which are often free. However when it's a show that is being mounted by a group of performers, then they are all tasked to sell tickets—each person is given a stack and told to get their family and friends to come. I'm not saying this is unusual, but it does contribute to a situation where most performances happen in front of an audience that knows other audience members and at least one of the performers, and that happens for the traditional performances as well. It is so common that when I'm going to a show at KOUS if I want to talk to the people next to me a logical question is "Who did you come to see?"

April 26th, 2011
We took mom to 창덕궁 Changdeokgung (Palace) and the Secret Garden (후원 or 비원 the former meaning more like back garden, the latter meaning secret garden). It was drizzling a bit, just like when we went to 경복궁 Gyeongbok Palace. Mmmmm…  Then we met my good friend 회정 Hoijung for lunch.

In the evening mom and I went to meet 경진 Gyeongjin (the last of my close Korean friends for mom to meet), Jan and Joji at 선릉역 Seollung Station and went to dinner together. After dinner we attended the performance of 안숙선 Ahn Sukseon (best best best singer in Korea and National Human Treasure for 가야금사조 병창 gayageum byeongchang), 정재만 (probably my favorite traditional dancer and National Human Treasure for 승무 seungmu) and 정철호 (a well known 판소리 pansori National Human Treasure). The presentation was sort of unusual. For one thing there was an MC, 오정해 Oh Jeonghae—she's a singer and a media "personality"—who was very active in the presentation. They had set up a raised seating platform with a table for tea and the performers sat there, behind whoever was presenting their stuff at that time, although with Ms. Oh. There was also a fair amount of conversation between each piece. I recorded it all, and might transcribe it, but basically they were trying to make people more comfortable with traditional culture, especially what they were seeing, and getting them some more education about it. 

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