Life Lessons from Korea, with Puppets for Professors

Puppeteer duo Kyu-mi Ko and Bong-seok Kim from Korea brought smiles and amusement from both kids and adults at the Little Festival

Published: 13th July 2015 03:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2015 03:33 AM   |  A+A-

Have you seen a grandfather shake his booty? How about a crane do splits? No? This and a lot more was witnessed by spectators at Puppet Fantasy, Hooray! presented by a Korean duo called Manetsangsahwa. The show was brought to life at the Little Festival organised by Little Theatre, at the Museum Theatre, on Friday.

The performance was divided into seven acts, the first six by Kyu-mi Ko, the creative designer of the puppets, and the last by Bong-seok Kim. The audience was first welcomed by shimmering butterflies from the theatre entrance, fluttering through the crowd and up on the stage. It was titled ‘The Butterfly Homage.’

The second act titled ‘Flower’s Dream,’ represented the Korean ideal that everyone comes into the world as a flower and one day, will die as a flower. The puppet or what appeared to be a flower bud, bloomed and then evolved into a woman, hands fanning herself gracefully.

A white, magnificent crane was brought to the stage later. It is a Korean belief that anyone who sees a crane dance is bound to have lots of luck! A theatre full of children and adults watched the bird in amazement as it opened its wings and also danced,  keeping pace with the music. One couldn’t help tapping their feet to the Sinawi folk tunes.

The fourth act, ‘Grandfather hip-hop’ received the loudest cheer and applause. A hilarious attempt at Hip-hop was by a grandfather puppet complete with hand gestures, neck movements and even a little booty shaking.

A life-sized puppet took to the stage in the act of the Salpuri dance. Kyu-mi handled the puppet skillfully. Her right hand was the puppet’s right hand and she handled all the strings, the skirt and the wicker hat with grace. It almost looked like the woman was real. Catching their breath, the audience watched the woman tell a story through her wildly gesturing puppet.

“The puppet woman was upset with the drooping flowers which represents sorrow. So, she sought to find a blooming flower (hope) and when she found it she brought it over the drooping flower to overpower sorrow,” explained Kyu-mi to us after the show.

The event had an interactive session with the audience. Kyu-mi han-picked a few students and taught them the steps to make a small puppet dance to a traditional Korean Song called Arirang.

The final act, ‘Complete Freedom’, performed by Bong-seok Kim. He was seen performing a serious act of walking on a rope that he flung on the ground, a bag of petals in hand, withdifferent emotions. In the end, he threw away the petals.

“The tight rope symbolises our timeline — from birth to death,” he told us later.  “The bag that was carried was misfortune and in the end I threw it away. I gave away all the worldly materialism to nature and attained complete freedom.”

All these loosely inter-connected acts portrayed Korea’s beliefs, ideals and an array of emotions. The duo,which has been performing since 2003, were in India for the second time.

The Little Festival will return next year in July with more international performances in an attempt to bridge differences through art.

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