Korea Performance Festival 2017 in Bangkok

by - Sunday, July 23, 2017

Korea Performance Festival 2017 in Bangkok 

The Thai people had a great opportunity to experience Korea through various kinds of performances, organized by the Korea Tourism Organization in Thailand. The Korea Performance Festival in Bangkok 2017 was held on June 2 and 3 at the GMM Live House in the department store Central World.

From Korea to Thailand, an amazing six teams -- Cookin' Nanta, Bibap Chef, the Jump Show, Lotus, the Pang show, and Sachoom -- put on performances vary from traditional Korean music and dance through to modern performing arts, martial arts and various dance genres, including hip-hop, jazz, contemporary dance, and break dancing.  Among these six shows, I only had seen the JUMP show before in Korea and the performance was amazing, so I was thrilled when I heard about this festival. All Thai people were very interested in this festival, as it can be seen that tickets ran out quite fast.

The festival started with a speech by the head of the Korea Tourism Organization in Thailand, speaking about Thailand and Korea. Thailand and Korea have had friendly relations for a long time. About 1.5 million Koreans visit Thailand each year, while 500,000 Thais travel to Korea. The director told the audiences to watch and learn more about Korea at that day's shows. He also tried to speak Thai which earned him a loud applause.

The festival was divided into two parts. The first part began with Bibap Chef, a non-verbal performance based on the representative Korean dish of bibimbap mixed rice. The storyline is about a fiery food competition between two chefs who each think their secret recipe is the best. The show is a combination of break dancing, beatboxing, a cappella and acrobatics. I fell in love with their jokes and singing. The show was funny.

the JUMP Show is a mixture of martial arts, including both taekwondo and taekkyeon, and comedy. In another word, it's a comic martial art performance. The storyline is all about a family that is good at martial arts. This show was not only hilarious but stunning, with its martial arts that were so astonishing! In my opinion, all ages can enjoy this show because it's easy to understand and follow the storyline, even children.

The Cooking Nanta show is well-known in many countries, including Thailand. This show has drawn the largest number of viewers in the history of Korean stage. It's about preparing food while beating out a rhythm using kitchen appliances and ingredients. The performances combine very well their culinary skills with traditional Korean music. I like that in some parts they suddenly acted in slow-motion. This was very comical. If you have a chance to see a non-verbal show in Korea, you shouldn't miss this famous one.

There was a break in between the two parts of the festival to let the audiences enjoy a free snack or drink, such as tteokbokki rice cake in a spicy red sauce, gimbap rice rolls, tea or popcorn.

The second part started with the LOTUS show, "A Flower Comes Out Once More," by the Jeongdong Theater, one of Korea’s most representative traditional arts performance troupes. The story is a traditional folk tale. It begins with Seo-ryeon, the best dancer at court who's skilled in singing and dancing. She starts her performance in the king’s reign of peace. The king is captivated by her beauty, which resembles a fragrant flower. The queen is jealousy and throws Seo-ryeon out of the palace. The stage, actors, and music were all wonderful. I love to watch traditional Korean dance.

The Pang show is adapted from the TV soap opera, “King of Baking, Kim Takgu” (제빵왕 김탁구) (2010). It's a bread making show that takes place on a cruise. The performance was full of b-boying, percussion instruments, juggling -- at least 3 balls at a time -- and magic! This show was so funny. In Korea, you can make your own bread before getting on board the cruise ship to experience beautiful sights and night views of Han river and enjoy the Pang Show there. After coming back from the cruise, you can get a taste to your own bread.

The last show was Sachoom, a non-verbal dance musical that's full of various dance styles, including hip-hop, break dance, contemporary dance and a combination of modern and traditional dance and music. They performed Psy’s global hit "Gangnam Style" and "Daddy," Big Bang, Twice, Black Pink and more. The audience really enjoyed this show because it’s like a mini concert. The audience even stood and danced along with the performers. I was amazed by one of the performers who could speak Thai quite well. He talked with the audience in English and Thai, and also tried to teach us some Korean sentences, like when he said, “Sori-jilleo,” which means "make some noise," we should scream.

Since these are non-verbal performances and emphasize acting and body language, you don’t need to understand any Korean to watch and enjoy the shows. They are more than just actors performing on a stage. Each show also invites the audiences to participate in the performances. The lucky one who goes on-stage plays with them and gets a souvenir from the show, such as a T-shirt, cap or folder.  After the show, you have the chance to take a photo with the actors, but it was crowded so I didn't take one myself.

You can see the gimmicks of each show in the above playlist. Normally, they don't allow you to take or record any photos or videos. However, this was a special event and they were not full shows, so they allowed us to take some photos and videos.

Apart from the Korea performances, outside the venue there were a few activities for visitors. The first thing you would see after the ticket booth was the backdrop with “Korea Performance Festival in Bangkok 2017” written on it for taking photos. If you wanted to learn more about today's shows or want to know where to see them in Korea, you can find more information at the booths, which provided brochures regarding the performances.

Moreover, there was a painting of a traditional Korean fan for those who love drawing and coloring.

The most popular activity was trying on traditional Korean Hanbok attire. The best thing was that organizers had prepared beautiful Korea-style backdrops and a snap & print service so you could get your photos of you in Hanbok as souvenirs from the festival. The photos were printed and were also at the website for you to download and share on social media in an instant. The good thing is that it was all free!

There were a lot of booths from the Incheon tourism bureau, airlines, travel agencies and tour operators, to showcase and give advice about their services and products for people interested in visiting Korea. The Korea Tourism Organization had a kiosk for those who wanted to ask about their trip to Korea. There were lucky draws sponsored by the Korea Tourism Organization and airlines at the end of each part of the festival.

All in all, the Korea Performance Festival gained a lot of attention from visitors who love Korea. The venue was packed. I heard that some people came from other provinces just for this festival. There were many Korean people who came to see the shows, too. I've learnt a lot about Korean heritage from this festival. I had a good time attending this festival. Seeing Korean performances will be on my itinerary when I go to Korea next time.

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