Wednesday, 1 October 2014

If A Picture Paints A Thousand Words: "The Painters: Hero"

                   (My The Painters: Hero ticket courtesy of 
                         the Korea Tourism Organization)

According to the band Bread, a picture should paint a thousand words. But at 'The Painters: Hero' show, a picture paints, not just a thousand words, but also applause, laughter, oohs and aahs.

This show is a performance art, literally. Four guys creating works of art on the stage with all the audience members watching and sometimes participating.

On the first few minutes of the show, I thought that perhaps my friends who have attended painting classes would be able to appreciate this performance more than I would. After all, I didn't actually excel at drawing when I was in grade school. I'd rather write or sing than draw. Ha-ha-ha!
I have watched a lot of performances in Seoul over the years; from non-verbal performances, to musicales to Korean traditional music, gugak, opera and ballet. But this one was a novelty: a show that lets the audience share the experience of the artists on stage in bringing works of art to life, and with dancing and funny antics at that!
                       (At the end of the show, the audience can 
                      take photos of the actors on stage)
That night, courtesy of the K-Performance Supporters team of the Korea Tourism Organization, I joined an audience consisting mostly of Chinese tourists and a few locals, and heard for myself that the loudest laughter in the crowd was not from the adults, but from the kids! Yes, this show is not only for the grownups, but I think with all the slapstick and the digital spectacle onstage, the kids enjoyed it more!

The show featured popular figures in the sketches and drawings so that the audience would immediately recognize them. I would have wanted to enumerate the popular profiles they featured on the show on this blog, but I don't want to spoil the surprise for you. You'd know who or what they are when you see the completed work on stage.
      (The audience taking photos of the stage after the show)

There's charcoal, paint on water, oil and other media they use to create these interesting art pieces on stage. With music and background digital images on stage, the whole experience makes it especially unique. And there are also sections for audience participation. If you're picked, the actors will turn you into an artist on stage.

A very impressive part of the show was the drawing of the three warriors in charcoal on three separate boards with an ending completed by a digital fortress flashed on stage. Those were really imposing drawings. I wonder what they do with those drawings after the show?

But my favorite was the mesmerizing sketch of stars with the sea and a boat. Was it sand art? The unique experience of this section was that the whole theater was dimmed and what everyone saw on stage was the glowing canvas on which two performers created the whole scenery with green flash lights. And the best part? This number was performed to Paloma Faith's charming song, Stargazer. I guess, since the work of art was about stars, the director decided to have the song Stargazer, and I think from now on, every time I hear this song, I would remember this show.

"The Painters: Hero" actually have five teams named after Chaplin, Jackson, Superman, Beethoven and Picasso. These teams take turns in performing the 80-minute show.

              (The Picasso Team at the autograph session)

That night, it was the new Picasso team that performed. I spoke with the actors after their performance and told them it was my first time to watch them and I was impressed. 

So, if you also want to be impressed with these artists on stage who could dance, do mime and slapstick on stage while creating works of art, do visit their website below and set a date to watch it:

The venue is the Seoul Theater, which is accessible from Exit 14 of Jongno 3-ga Station, and is actually a good stroll from Insadong. The ticket box is on the first floor, but the performance venue is on the 5th floor. You need to take the escalator all the way up. There are staff members who will direct you to the venue.

After the performance, you can actually walk down (opposite direction from Jongno 3-ga Station) to the Cheonggye Stream, which is just a couple of minutes by foot from the venue.

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