Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Week In Brief, A Coffeeshop Doppelganger And A Tributary Tome

Doughnut and Steadman Tea
Homemade doughnut and my favourite Ralph Steadman mug.

It's been a hectic sort of a week in the Ajosshi household:

Last weekend I was lucky enough to score free tickets to three very different, very exciting performances.

Last Friday night thanks to the Korea Foundation I was able to get on the guest list for their Summer Concert for Foreign Residents. We were treated to a concert featuring the work of one of the world's greatest Gayageum players, Hwang Byung-ki. He is, as our North American cousins might say, "a Bad-Ass Mo' Fo'" musician who has composed some extraordinary pieces for the Gayageum and we were treated to five compositions (two of which were performed by Hwang himself) and a rather extraordinary translation experience where at one point the translator became flummoxed and so Hwang switched to speaking in English, while the translator had to convert his remarks back into Korean. An astonishing and hilarious moment. After the concert I was waylaid by a journalist from The Korea Times and you can read my opinion on Bad-Ass Gayageum Mo' Fo' Hwang Byung-ki here.

Saturday morning I rose early and headed down to the Seoul Arts Center to catch a performance of The Very Hungry Caterpillar & Other Eric Carle Favourites by Nova Scotia's Mermaid Theatre. It's a superb puppet show that manages to faithfully recreate Eric Carle's books on stage, whilst keeping a rowdy bunch of five year olds enthralled. Incredibly simple and yet so very, very entertaining. I thoroughly recommend it for anyone with young children.

Sunday afternoon I headed off somewhere north of Seodaemun to watch a rather complex physical theatre piece by the Sadari Movement Laboratory. The first 15 minutes was an astounding dance-like routine involving seven brightly dressed and wigged ladies and gentlemen engaged in an odd and sometimes painful connection. The rest of the show was decidedly more wordy and involved a few difficult dialects and phrasings, alongside some historical references I was not so familiar with and so my brain worked rather harder than usual, trying to decipher the goings on on stage. It's a brand new piece and this is the first time it has been performed, I love seeing their productions in their earliest forms and then coming back to see how they have transformed over months and years.

The rest of this week has been filled with work. I'm very close to sealing the deal on a new project for the autumn and I've finished my essay for The New Korea Files (Have you submitted your's yet?). Work on Mokwha's Tempest translation is slowly moving forward and at a special press rehearsal on Tuesday I had the pleasure of meeting a journalist from Scotland's Sunday Herald who is over in Korea checking out the artists who are coming to Edinburgh this summer.

Thursday late night I got a text from an old friend which led to me heading down south of the river on Friday to record vocals for a brand new construction video game. It was great to be in a recording studio and hopefully I'll be able to land a few similar gigs in the future.

Finally, I came across a couple of odd discoveries this afternoon. Apparently I have my very own coffee shop near Jamshil... 폴아저씨커피 (also on twitter) opened in November last year and according to these photos seems to be a lovely place to sup a cup of java.

I also discovered that there's a children's book dealing with a couple of Paul Ajosshis. I must get my hands on a copy and see what I've been up to.

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