Tuesday, May 10, 2011

K-Arts Students Perform Goseong Ogwangdae

May 7th, 2011
Finally the day for the K-Arts students to perform 고성오광대 Goseong Ogwangdae arrived. I ordered 15 bouquets of flowers from the florist and picked them up on my way to the show. Because rain had been projected (although then the weather was gorgeous after all), the show had been moved inside, which I am sure was better for attendance. I got special permission to video tape the show, but left the video camera on at the back of the room sitting up front next to 태환 Taehwan's two sisters who said they'd never seen him perform before. It was a little intimidating to be exactly one row in front of the seats reserved for 이윤석 Yi Yunseok (Goseong Ogwangdae national human treasure) and other Goseong Ogwangdae people and K-Arts faculty. 이재훈 Yi Jaehun, the sweet long-haired jeonsu gyoyuk jogyo who normally performs the old wife was there, as was 김성범 Kim Seongbeom, but Daecheon and Changyeol were absent as they had a performance starting at 6 pm at 광화문 Gwanghwamun—quite a distance from K-Arts campus.

The performance was better than I had expected, especially since I'd been pretty sorely disappointed by the students in the Bongsan Talchum group two days previously. The students did have one advantage compared to the Bongsan Talchum students: the mask dance drama is much shorter. Even with a substantial pungmul section at the beginning of the piece (even including some 남사당 namsadang tricks), the performance only took two hours. The students made no perceptible mistakes and some of them were very good. 재윤, 혜미 and 민지 drummed the whole time, which I think was unfortunate. It would have been better if they had been able to do some dancing, too. Personally I was quite impressed by 정우, I think he improved a lot, and 윤만 also really ate up the scene compared to what I had expected. One of the neatest things was how they bowed. They all ran forward in the groups of the soloists from the final act forward, so that for the final act the old wife, young wife (concubine) and old husband bowed, each now in their plain white minbok, but through using a bit of the mannerisms of their character they made it clear to the audience who had just been wearing which mask. It was really cool.

After the show I went to a 막걸리 makgeolli house with the senior K-Arts students and Yi Yunseok, Yi Jaehun, Professor Choi Changju and so on. Eventually the students showed up. After some warm and congratulatory speeches before toasts I left. 

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