Friday, October 31, 2014

Unhyeon Palace Romance 2

Last week I had the opportunity to see a Korean musical called "Unhyeon Palace Romance 2" at the Guro Arts Valley Theater, thanks to the K-Performance Supporters and KTO. I was also able to bring along some friends from the AFSC Music group for the adventure - field trip!

"Unhyeon Palace Romance 2" centers around the story of a famous pansori singer, Jin Chae-sun, who sang at the palace and then disappeared into obscurity. The cast members retell her tale, postulate on what happened to her after she left the palace, and then contemplate their own life and career path based upon Chae-sun's tale.

The set and costumes were minimalist, but beautiful. The costumes consisted of modern clothes with an over layer or jacket that evoked the imagine of traditional hanbok - very creative and effective for the story telling (with multiple changes between past and present).  I wish I could share some pictures from the show, but no photos were allowed during the performance.

This was a musical with MUCH speaking and singing - in both modern musical and traditional pansori styles. It was all in Korean, but they did provide translations on the walls on either side of the stage. This was both good and bad, as it was sometimes hard to enjoy the great performance by the actors while trying to quickly read the text to understand what was going on. Pansori is a unique style, and not everyone's "cup of tea", but my companions and I really enjoyed it.

Our group had a great time - thanks, KTO!

You may have noticed the artwork on the wall behind us - to me, it looked like a sculpture of organ pipes and the attached tubes made me wonder if it was a functioning artwork - how cool would that be?  After further inspection of the posted signs (all in Korean) and inquiry from multiple sources, I found out it does indeed play. The pipe-like pieces are fashioned after the piri (which I've mentioned before), a traditional Korean double-reed instrument, usually made from bamboo. I can only imagine what the sound is like when this plays - I am guessing loud!

After the show, we ventured out and stumbled across a festival in the park nearby.

Families were having a lot of fun building these bird shaped planes, which used a rubber band to make the wings flap as they flew.

The Guro Arts Valley Theater is accessible from Subway line 2, Daerim station.  

It was a 10-15 minutes walk from the station, so leave yourself time if you visit!

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