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9 November 2004
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KLB - Namsan Park and Shawn in NANTA!

After seeing my pictures of Incheon Park, the touring manager of NANTA, Mr. Kim, who has been a major part of the NANTA team since it's conception, sent me these nice pictures of Namsan Park nearby the theater area.

Actually, while I was walking to the NANTA theater, which is located in central Seoul (Jung-dong) I was very surprised by the surrounding area. It is a very natural, peaceful place. You walk down a sidewalk bordered by colorful trees along the stone wall of Duk Su Palace to get to the theater:

Here's the Nanta Theater Building. Yes, it's so good it has its own theater. Mr. Kim said there are other theaters for it in Korea too. The show is also performed on Broadway in NYC. Mr. Kim spent a year there himself.

You're not allowed to take pictures inside the theater, so I only have a few shots of the entranceway to the building. It was crowded with foreigners. A lot of western people were there and also Japanese. The show is performed regularly in Japan.

You can see some pics of the performance by doing a Google image search:

NANTA Google Search

Some souvenirs and the performance program. After the show I bought a T-shirt and a Chef's hat, which I had signed by the cast. I believe we saw the White Team perform. There are a number of different teams.

Another shot of inside the entranceway. I love the interior design.

Here's Julie waiting for me to stop taking pictures and go inside for the show.

One of the most embarrassing (yet memorable) moments of my life. About halfway into the performance some of the cast came down and dragged me and another "victim" (as Mr. Kim called us) onto the stage to take part in the show. Though I definitely experiencing severe stage fright, I managed to improvise a little and get a few laughs. The place was packed and I felt pretty nervous. However, it was very funny, especially for Julie, who was watching safely from her seat. At the very end of the show, long after I had gone off stage, there was a scene about a wedding and they put his photo blown up on the huge screen. That poor girl. I think she was Japanese. "Nihongo ga scoshi wakarimasu. Konbanwa. Mata raishuu. Blah blah blah."

After the exciting, energetic, dazzling, electrifying show, Mr Kim introduced Julie and I to the cast and someone took a few pics for me with my camera. These poor guys must have been tired after all that banging away on pots and pans all night. You don't realize how much the sweat up there on stage until you get up there and see them up close. Even I started to sweat just standing there.

I don't want to give away anything about the actual performance, but I definitely recommend seeing the show. It's highly entertaining and not very expensive. It would be a great place to take your special somebody, or even just a friend. If you want to know more about the show, times and ticket prices, etc., goto the NANTA site:

NANTA Homepage and click on the English link.

I took this sumary from the webpage:

We give a title as "COOKIN" to approach the show to the audience easily and quick to understand it abroad which is called "NANTA" in Korea.
'NANTA' means figuratively reckless punching as in a slugfest at a boxing match. Our 'NANTA' is a non-verbal performance of reckless rhythms that dramatize customary Korean percussion in a strikingly comedic stage show. Integrating uniquely Korean traditional tempos with a western performance style, NANTA storms on stage into a huge kitchen where four capricious cooks are preparing a wedding banquet. While COOKIN', they turn all kinds of kitchen items - pots, pans, dishes, knives, chopping board, water bottles, even brooms and each other- into percussion instruments. Rhythm rules and audiences are swept along in the primitive sound explosion and actions on stage. Though the performance is built primarily on captivating rhythms and has very few spoken words, audiences of all ages and nationalities can easily enjoy the plot and dramas.

(Non-Verbal Performance is a genre without words but consists of only rhythm and beat)

I would also like to thank Mr. Kim for buying my book, for one, and also for inviting us as his special guests to the performance. Not only that, but he took Julie and I out for beer and anju after the show and told us all about the history of NANTA and a lot of other things about the performing arts in Korea. I'm looking forward to enjoying more shows in the future.


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