Thursday, October 14, 2010

Drawing Show


Seoul is full of theatres. Sadly, with the language barrier, a great deal of them are effectively off-limits to those of us who don't speak the language.

To combat this, and to give some of their live shows more international potential and make them more tourist-friendly in the homeland, more than a few recent shows have focused more on language-free rhythm, dance and visual arts.

I haven't seen many, though I did see Nanta twice (once with Ma and Pa when they visited). It's high energy and the drumming is very cool, though I could do without most of the kitsch that fills-in the gaps in a very broad attempt to get laughs.

I get it though. As a guy who once spent part of a summer being a part of the cast of this show, I understand both the audience want and the performer need to "involve". However, when the cross-over seems a bit forced, and it doesn't go off as planned, few things are more uncomfortable and embarrassing by proxy. When the tired old "divide the audience to cheer" bit was rolled-out, a clear whiff of desperation was floating in the air.

And that's how things went a bit too often at Hero - a Drawing Show on Thursday night when I went with the rabbit, a friend from school, and her son. Hero is a live show where the performers work together or alone to create works of visual "drawn" art through various mediums - everything from basic charcoal, to (what seemed like) wax and chalk-dust, to strategically-placed and rotated rubik's cubes, to water and dye, and light pens on a glow-in-the-dark canvas.

I'll say this about the show - there is undeniable skill in the artists on stage and the creations are often inspired and unique. Too bad though that the poster gives-away some of the show's best surprises. Part of the fun of this kind of performance art is the big reveal at the end. When a good portion of the show's work is known prior to the show, the surprises unfortunately come-off as rote, which I suppose they are. But, in that realization as an audience member, the fun of the creation is somewhat diminished and things seem a tad underwhelming in the end.

It's too bad, as again it's clear that there is a unique talent on display, an interesting and challenging set, and a cool show, that is unfortunately covered-up in a bit too much hoo-ha that the audience I saw it with would have preferred to have done without. I know that dancing and clowning is a big part of many live performances in the variety show genre, but in this case the art itself would have been more than entertaining enough to have sufficed on its own.

Anyway, for 25,000 won, it still beats doing the same old - whatever that is for you. Just go with a good attitude and be ready for a little extra cheese. Check out www.drawingtheatre.com for more information.

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