As this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival draws to close, UnitedKpop have chosen two Korean acts from the ‘Korean Season’ section of the festival to watch and review.
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The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a long running event which allows creative and unusual acts to take centre stage. Acts from all over the world attend in order to spread their talents, and some to even catch their big break! This year welcomes the Korean Season in which certain acts are invited from Korea to take part in the Korean stage, as well as their own shows.
With four-star reviews from the press, Binari is one of the more traditional Korean acts at the festival, which combines Korean funeral rituals with Korean mask play to tell the story of an unhappy soul being sent on without any lingering attachments.
From the beginning, the audience are faced with the simplistic beauty of the set, which consisted of a mask with white sheets in front of a door. The majority of the performance is carried solely by a woman singing accompanied by a Janggu (Korean drum) player in the corner. The intensity of her voice, the drum and the slow yet deliberate movements are enough to keep you fixated throughout the show.
As it begins, we see the ritual being carried out on the ‘body’ before we see the memories of this person acted out in a way that’s almost like a pantomime. The middle section of the play turns from very serious and stylistic to slapstick comedy with some intriguing audience interaction.
I feel that although it may seem out of place, this comedic section helped to engage the non-Korean audience without straying from the traditional Korean style of the play. With only a few lines spoken (few in English), it’s easy to understand the story of a woman who’s womaniser/gambler husband has lead to her death, without making the play too heavy.
We then get treated to a ribbon dance from the drummer along with other dances which incorporate the other props such as white sheets, lanterns, more masks and white ribbons before the play takes a serious turn again.
This simplistic yet beautiful show will take you on an emotional journey, whilst allowing a first hand view of Korean traditions, dance, song, and even traditional Korean clothes.
You’d definitely have to come to this show with an open mind, especially if you’re like me and are completely clueless about Korean rituals and dance. But once you get into it, it’s a very beautifully put together show with a very talented cast. Whether you want to try something new, want to indulge yourself more into Korean culture or just want to have a laugh, I’d highly recommend this performance!
Photos via Binari (비나리)
A performance with deep meaning, unexpected comedy and brilliant stage presence.