TransLab

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Over the last few years, I have been tinkering around with the idea of making physical theatre that combines elements of butoh and Korean traditional opera (pansori). I have had varying levels of success in this, and along the way I have subjected people to a variety of showings of my work. Starting with Strange Earth in 2009, through to Deluge in 2011 and most recently, a project I am calling TransLab.

TransLab is a process of setting up a transcultural environment in which to explore the transformation of body and voice. It is a part of my Masters study at QUT and involves working with artists from Korea and Australia to not only facilitate cultural and skills exchange, but to create new performance environments together.

And I finally feel like I am getting somewhere.

My most recent showing was at the end of June, and I captured the whole thing on film. At the moment, TransLab describes the creative environment in which I am redeveloping Deluge: which will culminate in November in a relatively sophisticated version of that work. What is emerging is a style of working and a series of training and rehearsal conditions that I will continue playing with in the future. Once I get this Masters out of the way, I want to invite more artists into the studio with me to train and to create.

One step at a time though, one step at a time.

지하 Underground

September 20, 2010 § 1 Comment

Your friend promises you that this place is real. He found it, he says, after quite a raucous night of eating a bit too much barbecued pork, and drinking just a bit too much sweet-potato wine. In fact, it is all he has talked about for weeks and if he could only remember exactly where it was, he asserts that you will not be disappointed.

Crafty Bar

The problem is, he can’t remember there being a sign on the door, and regardless, he never did find out what the place was called.

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Pansori Lullaby

July 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

So, I have been pretty lame this week, not posting much at all.

But I have been incredibly productive, considering I have also been trying to spend as much time with Nathan before he goes (TOMORROW!).

After cancelling our performance of Nok Cha Cafe Friday night due to a storm (which actually ended up clearing and leaving an ideal night, but we went out to Itaewon and had three dinners instead… long story), we squeezed in some last minute filming tonight.

But, I have been faithfully been turning up to my Pansori classes, and without fail, Min Ah has a new piece waiting for me to learn.  Today’s is somewhat of a Pansori lullaby.  Which is a scary thought in itself.

I’m not sure if this would calm me down after a crying fit, or put me to sleep.  Apparently, it is meant to do the latter.

[Vid After the Break]

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Lesson 4: Man Chom Cheong San

June 22, 2009 § 1 Comment

I feel dreadful. Nathan has given me some kind of headache/neck/ache/depressed virus. I was going to be productive today, I really was.

I had my fourth lesson, my teacher has decided it’s time for me to learn a new piece.  This one makes Sarangga sound like ‘Three Blind Mice’.

First, I’ll post the video demonstration by Oh Min Ah.
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Lesson 3: Problems with “이” (“E”)

June 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

I had my third Pansori lesson on Friday, and tomorrow morning is my fourth.  I have hit a bit of a wall.  It’s not that I have advanced as far as I can go (heaven forbid), but after my last lesson I came away with an overwhealming feeling of uselessness, and that it was all a bit hard.  I then ate a Twix (hello g-string muffin) and reveiwed the video of my lesson.  It’s not that bad.  It’s just that Pansori is bloody hard.  And I have made it harder by being less amazing at Korean than I want, and not posessing a highly trained, or particularly flexible voice.
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Lesson 2: Sarangga

May 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

My god, this stuff is hard…

Had my second lesson at The National Theatre today.  Min Ah was very happy with my rendition of Jindo Arirang, but still implored me to practice the little five-note phrases 100 times each day.  Nothing like rote learning and muscle memory.

We then moved onto a real piece of Pansori, from Chunghyangga:

The Chunhyangga tells the story of love between Chunhyang, the daughter of a kisaeng entertainer, and Yi Mongryong, the son of a magistrate. After the two are illegally married, Mongryong goes to Seoul and a corrupt local magistrate attempts to force Chunhyang to be his concubine. She refuses and is faced with death, but is rescued at the last minute by Mongryong returning in his new role as a secret royal inspector.

Thanks Wikipedia.

The piece that Min Ah chose is Sarangga (사랑가), which translates as ‘Love Song’. As far as I can tell, it starts off with one lover telling the other that they love them, and then  moves into some kind of discussion about watermelons (the sound of lopping off the stem and mixing the flesh with honey that goes “da, dddddddddd” as it drips down).  From then, it gets a bit too complicated for me…

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One Month In…

May 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

So, I have missed out on a ‘One Month In’ post by one day, but it only just occurred to me to write one.  I won’t recap. If you’re interested, you can read for yourself.

But these are the things that are on my mind:

I have slowly been working through the essay I am writing on my own Butoh practice.  I just dug out the book I brought with me about Sun Mu (Zen Dance) practice (this reveiw of the author’s work sounds amazing).  I actually stole the book from the communal bookshelf in Oldfield Castle when I lived here two years ago and lugged it back to Oz.  I cracked it open a couple of times last year when we were first talking about how we would approach Sketches Of Blood.  It includes some interesting concepts that I want to incorporate into the way I feel about dance.  I am also very interested in picking up a few more Salpuri classes, because it is such a beautiful form…

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First Pansori Lesson

May 23, 2009 § 3 Comments

I am very excited.

I had my first Pansori class today with Oh Min Ah, of the National Changgeuk Theater Of Korea.  I met her for the first time this morning at The National Theatre on the slopes of green Namsan Mountain.  She is probably one of the most adorable Korean women I have met. And I have met quite a few adorable Korean women.

We have quite an interesting language barrier.  I think her English skills match my Korean ones.  With maybe one or two points in my favour, so very basic communication is possible, but we did struggle a little.  Not in the actual teaching, but in the small issues, like how much I was to pay her, when we would meet, what exactly I was doing in Korea.  That sort of thing.  Long periods on the electronic dictionary did help.  And we got by.

The words ‘Highway Robbery’ came up when we were discussing her fee.  I think the gist of it is that Pansori teachers can be very expensive, but she does not want to charge me any where near the full price, and even the money I have to give her (thanks to the Australia-Korea Foundation) she thinks is too much.  But we have organised 16 lessons over the next three months (she will be out of town for a month doing a show in Ansan) so everything worked out in the end…

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Going to Korea

March 24, 2009 § 2 Comments

I got funding! Well, that was a couple of weeks ago, but I got more concrete confirmation yesterday.

AND…

I have been successful in being granted a a place in the three-month residency at The National Museum of Contemporary Art studio in Changdong, Seoul! This was totally unexpected, as I didn’t hear back from them for ages, and then I browse their website to see my name on the News page. And then a very short email with my name on a list of successful applications (only two for the Seoul-based residency). I’ll be living at the studio, making work, and exhibiting it. This is in addition to my residency at The National Theatre Of Korea, learning Pansori from Oh Min Ah.

I am so excited, I feel like everything just exploded.

Korea, here I come.

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