The music play NAMU will be on stage at Arko Arts Theater, central Seoul, Nov. 9 and 10. / Courtesy of organizers
By Chung Ah-young
Ahead of the G20 summit next month, a variety of cultural events will be held by the Korea Foundation and the Arts Council Korea with a theme of “Green Growth.”
The cultural program is designed to show Korea’s contribution to the resolution of international issues, such as environmental pollution and poverty around the world, and to enhance Korea’s national standing in the global community.
One of the cultural events, the NAMU is a multi-genre music theater production in which a variety of artists from different backgrounds ― theater, dance, media art, Korean traditional music, and art ― have collaborated to bring the “Green Growth” subject on stage.
The musical, which will be staged at Arko Arts Theater on Nov. 9 and 10, will be directed by Kim Ah-ra known for her creative contributions to large-scale festivals like the Gyeongju World Culture EXPO and Angkor-Gyeongju World Culture EXPO, as well as classical theater of Sophocles and Shakespeare.
Stage designer Park Dong-woo, pianist Lim Dong-chang, media artist Choi Jong-bum, object artist Hong Hyun-ju, Korea’s representative actors Jung Dong-hwan, Nam Myung-ryul, and Kwon Seong-deok, choreographer Park Hobin and 30 artists from France, Brazil, Malaysia, and Togo will jointly produce the performance.
Among others, Oh Ji-yoon, known for her unique combination of Korea’s traditional musical form pansori and opera, will appear at the show as a featured performer.
The show seeks to convey a message about the environment in regard to its pervasive influence over the world’s survival in this 21st century.
The show portrays the origin of humanity that recently has been facing a rapidly changing environment by placidly showing the process of growing a tree of life and the hope and desire of mankind for harmony with Mother Nature.
The actors with a wide range of ages varying from 21 to 85 will appear in the show. Nineteen artists representing various genres, generations, races, and nationalities will be on the same stage.
The script was written in poetry form by Park Sang-choen, which consists of 13 scenes and 17 poems. Circulation of the seasons, from spring, summer, autumn, winter, and back to spring; the circulation of water from a stream, valley, sewage, river, and to the ocean; and the circulation of life from birth, encounters, friendship, conflict, parting, death, and back to the birth; are expressed by the sound of water gathering and flowing throughout the performance, along with the ideal harmony of the ocarina ensemble, as well as voices and movement.
At the NAMU venue, in the forecourt of Arko Arts Theater, there will be a visual performance, “The Photosynthetic Exciton” by media artist Choi Jong-bum, who challenges the boundaries of visual art with his works by integrating dance, theatre, fashion and reception events. “The Photosynthetic Exciton” will convey a message to the audience living in modern society marked by over-consumption by delving into photosynthesis, the essential process of plant life.
The Arko Arts Museum of Arts Council Korea will also present “Greening Green 2010” from Nov. 9 to 28 as a cultural project of the G20 Seoul Summit 2010. “Greening Green 2010” interprets the practical strategies for sustainable and balanced growth through the medium of contemporary culture and arts by 13 artists, designers, and documentary photographers from eight countries on four continents. The exhibition includes the discussions and workshops with the audiences.
The exhibition displays the artists’ points of view toward urban culture and the ecological environment, along with related documents. Their archived thoughts and objects transformed into art provide an opportunity to experience different aspects of our contemporary surroundings.
A trash series by Vivan Sundaram from India and the spectacle of garbage mounds by China’s Yao Lu are the visualization of the urban environment and situation, expressed through photography and landscapes. World-renowned documentary photographer James Balog from the U.S. also captures the issues of global warming in a provocative documentary form, reinforcing his passion. Iranian environmental artist and critic Ahmad Nadalian took photographs and videos of his journeys on a bicycle all over the world in order to show the importance of water. Florencia Levy of Argentina, who collected plants in Seoul for a month, seeks to communicate with audiences through her drawings.