Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Culture Tuesday

I got some culture in this lazy holiday - went to the theater. The Shin-Yeon Arts Hall, specifically. Chose a play at random, called "The Absurd Scandal".

That's a loose translation of the Korean title "기막힌 스캔들". That, in turn is a very liberal translation of the original title of this Marc Camoletti play "Pyjamas Pour Six", or even it's English title "Don't Dress for Dinner" (see also here). Despite growing up in and around theaters and drama folks, I have never heard if this play nor this playwright before. He apparently is famous for an earlier 1962 play called "Boeing Boeing" which ran for over 20 years, and to which this 1982 play is a sequel.

This section of Seoul has a bunch of small theaters, kind of a mini-arts district near Hyehwa Station on line 4. The play was a performed with just five actors and one set, however I noticed online that they rotate four cast members through each role, making a total cast of 20. The play ran about 1-1/2 hours, and kept the audience in stitches most of the time (it's a comedy). Even with my poor Korean, I was able to get about 1/3 of the language, and actually understood almost the entire story just from context and body language.

In a departure from the plays I've seen in America, the program or flyer didn't list the actors and actresses names (though they are listed on the website, and were also posted on a wall in the entrance hallway). Also, I noticed they spelled the author's name incorrectly ("Comoletti" instead of "Camoletti"), but at least they gave him credit. There was no intermission, I guess because this theater is so small there is no lobby. I made a rough count, and I'm guessing there is seating for 150 to 200 patrons.

This was a good experience, and reminded me a lot of seeing plays as a kid that my Dad was involved in as Technical Director or otherwise. I will definitely go back to this area and catch some more plays in the future.

Oh, and lots of good restaurants nearby.

Here's one which served spicy barbeque chicken, although I ordered a beef and seafood fried rice with cheese-filled-rice-cake "extra". Wow, it was great!

EDIT: This theater's seats were exceptionally comfortable, and looked like they were Duoback (a Korean name brand of office chair supposedly designed to be an ergonomic fit to the back). However, my back was KILLING me for about three days after this play. I can only attribute it to the fact that I was hunching down to avoid blocking the view of the fellow behind me, and also leaning to one side to see around the person in front of me.

1 comment:

jennifer anderson said...

sounds like you are trying to take full advantage of experiences in another country