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Monday, December 29, 2008

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker is a true Christmas experience, with Tchaikovsky's amazing score, plenty of stunning costumes and, of course, breath-taking dancing. So when Natalie suggested getting tickets as the cap to the holiday season, I immediately jumped at the chance. I'd seen The Nutcracker before at the Kennedy Center but couldn't remember it well so it was great to get this refresher on the show.

The Seoul Arts Center has several theatres and performance spaces, as well as art galleries. It's an absolutely stunning building -- even the lobbies are intricately decorated and festively decked-out for the season.

The actual opera house was beautiful also, full of red and very plush. Definitely not the old-world charm of so many theatres I loved in London but incredibly regal.

Sitting in that space, I was transported far from Seoul and became completely engrossed in the story, dancing and music. Although even my untrained eye could tell this wasn't the best production ever (there were a couple of drops and obvious missteps throughout), it's such a beautiful show that a few flaws here and there really didn't matter.

One of the oddest things was how many bows the dancers took. After nearly every dance, the primary dancers took long bows for the audience. And before intermission, the entire cast came out for an excruciatingly long curtain call -- we were joking that maybe in Korea, they only do the first act of the show! Even at the end of the show, the applause had completely died out yet the company took three curtain calls.

I guess it's like my kids' obsession with collecting stickers and 'excellent' -- a self-congratulatory streak in the Korean culture, perhaps.

It was such a fun night and wonderful to be back in a theatre after going three months without. I'm now eager to see what else is coming to Seoul and possibly find some English-language theatre.

1 comment:

  1. I love the Nutcracker! It must have been cool seeing it performed in a different country!