Saturday, 15 August 2015

Seoul's Summer, Stream and Sachoom!

           (Seoul's Cheonggye Stream)

It's been a sweltering summer here in Seoul these past weeks, and like everyone else, I avoided going outdoors, lest I wanted to melt. Ha-ha-ha!

Although the giant water ride drew everyone towards Sinchon last month for people to temporarily cool off, that was just a short respite. 

And as I made my way one night towards the Cine Core Theater in the Jongno District of Seoul to watch a special performance of Sa-choom!, I spied on some locals literally cooling their feet on the Cheonggye Stream. I would have wanted to join them if it were not for the the 8PM showtime.

Not surprising, there were more locals queuing for their tickets at the box office. If this were months ago, or shall I say during the pre-MERS days, the Chinese tourists lining up to watch this non-verbal performance would have outnumbered locals.
             (Queuing for their tickets)
Compared to other shows, you can actually take photographs during the performance, but sadly, I couldn't bring in an iced cafe mocha. You can only take with you bottled water. And after I took my seat next to Vicky, a visiting tourist from Frankfurt, Germany, I took around and noticed that all seats were taken! I assumed it's the summer vacation; so, everyone made sure they enjoyed a Korean performance or two.

I saw Sa-Choom in April, and I wasn't that impressed with what I saw. Perhaps, it was a different team that performed for the K-Performance Supporters that night. Tonight, however, the team of performers seemed to have raised their level. But I think the show's contents - the choreography, costumes, music, and storyline - were the problem. It would work for a visiting tourist who may find it a novelty, but not for me.

This team's lead actor, Bin, was just like the same as the other team: he has no presence on stage and couldn't even rap his songs properly. He was just tall and could do chest stand. Luckily, the lead actress could sing! The director should have exploited this talent more by giving her more 'screen time' to show off her good vocals. Yes, she was pretty, skinny, and could sing! I wonder if she actually tried out for a K-pop album. 

     (This guy doing the breakdance is the 
       best among the back-up dancers)

After the show, I asked Vicky which characters she liked; her favorites were Jong-yeok, the emcee (played by Jang Dong-ho) and that underdog character who danced in his pajamas and could dislocate his shoulder while bboy dancing! I agreed with her choices. These two were the redeeming characters of the show; they had showmanship and energy level above everyone else on stage. 

           (Dancing in one's pajamas!)
(Minister Kim Jongdeok of Culture, Sports and Tourism joins the performers on stage to encourage everyone to help in the efforts to promote Korean performances)
         (Sa-choom gift packs were given 
        away to lucky audience members)

And since it was a special performance that night, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and Sports, Mr. Jongdeok Kim, gave a short speech encouraging everyone to help promote Korean tourism to reverse the MERS effects. He also gave out three Sachoom gift packs to three lucky audience members.

So, if you're still on your summer vacation, do catch some Korean performances in Seoul, and then you can perhaps also cool off your tired feet on the Cheonggye Stream!

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