Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Joys Of Summer (Plus A Little Bit Of Shakespeare)

Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.

My vibrating bottom will haunt your ears

Summer is well and truly here on the peninsula, we've survived the muggy monsoon season and now we're onto the even muggier month of August. A time to appreciate the constant whine of the cicadas whilst you slowly melt onto the pavement in a dehydrated sweaty mess.

Still, life isn't all bad when the air conditioning is on full blast, your feet are in a bucket of cold water and you're halfway through eating your own weight in ice cream.

Plus, I have news of an event that doesn't seem to be getting any English language press in Korea (at least not that I could find). On August 15th and 16th, the Marronnier Outdoor Stage in Daehangno is playing host to an English language production of Hamlet.

This isn't just any old performance, it's part of the "Globe to Globe" world tour by the Shakespeare's Globe theatre troupe. Started back on April 23rd 2014, the plan is to take Hamlet to every single country on Earth (on a whopping two year tour) and this month Korea gets a flying visit from the company.

Tickets are free, but you will need to be able to understand Korean or at least have someone understand it for you if you want to get your sweaty little hands on them. Head here to book tickets! The shows start at 7.30 on Saturday the 15th and Sunday the 16th of August and you'll get to see the Danish prince in all his glory.

Here's a sneak preview of sorts:

So get off your bottom, get booking and enjoy a summery Shakespeare evening... 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!

Well, 2014 is dead and gone and I’m still here sitting in my underpants and considering what 2015 may hold. New experiences? New friends? New work? Rainbows? Unicorns? Kittens with lasers for eyes? Possibly… What I do know, is that the past twelve months have been a whirlwind of change, sometimes filled with excitement and sometimes filled with pain.

In February the performing company of Latt Children’s Theatre was almost fully shut down after 11 years of operation, with only a skeleton staff remaining for the summer. The theatre still continues as a venue that also will occasionally put on its own productions, but it has ceased to function as the only English language children’s repertory theatre company in Korea. After spending over a decade making shows together, it was a very strange feeling to have everything shut down and for an important chapter in our lives to close. I remained with the company for the summer festival, putting on two smaller scale shows and doing some storytelling and we were lucky enough to have two great Korean language children’s theatre companies come in to perform alongside us.

With the ending of one endeavour came the start of two others. First with the founding of a new company - Jam Box Theatre - hopefully persevering with the work we have done at Latt and continuing to entertain and inspire families in the future. Our first show was done in partnership with Latt Children’s Theatre, allowing us to perform at the venue and giving us a chance to present a brand new work: Fairy Tale Box. Fifteen fairy tales told in one hour in all sorts of ways - some long, some short, some scary and some silly, we mixed European and Korean traditional tales together to give our audiences something a little different. Pigs, princess, wolves, tigers, turtles, rabbits and a Snow Queen shared the stage and we had a joyous month long run with over 4,000 people coming to see us perform.

The other new beginning was much more of a surprise. For the past four years I’ve been guesting on various radio programmes on TBSeFM and Arirang Radio, talking about Korean culture, festivals and events, but this summer I was given the opportunity to audition as a full time dj and you can now hear me daily as part of the Wake Up Crew. I sit in a studio with Punita Bajaj and get to waffle on about all sorts of interesting things and you can hear us every morning from 5.00 till 7.00. A little early for most people, but do take a listen if you have the chance. Thanks to the format of the show I get to share a story I’m interested in every day as well as music of my choice which has led to me being able to start playing old Tom Waits tracks pretty much every week, much to the annoyance of my cohost who would prefer more Michael Buble... 

As for 2015? I’m in rehearsals for a Singalong Concert which opens next week - a chance for young kids and the parents to singalong to some nursery favourites including Old MacDonald Had A Farm and The Wheels On The Bus, as well as planning new shows with Jam Box Theatre for the coming year. If you’re studying at certain academies you may also get to hear me as the disembodied British male voice in some of your upcoming listening tests and if you haven’t seen the Korean film Cart yet, then you should, because my wife is in it and she is fabulous.

I’m not sure what else the new year will bring, but I’m hoping there will be more joy than sorrow, more delight than pain and more interesting times ahead. Happy New Year!