Thursday, 10.15 pm
Another great day! I’m having a marvelous time this week – so much more creative success than our disastrous trip to China!
This morning, Eli and I headed to the studio at 10am. I had a boatload of notes to take care of from yesterday. Before we headed in, I wandered through the local markets to get some coffee and have some breakfast. While I was out, I snapped a few photos. Here’s the daytime version of the same photo from last night:
Here are some lovely examples of incorrect usage of English. You can check out Engrish.com for some more examples. One of the actors in the company calls this ‘Konglish’ – a blending of Korean and English:
Here’s a North Face store just for people my size:
And here’s a shoe store with an identity crisis:
During the morning session, I took care of my notes while the actors warmed up with yoga, gymnastics, and movement meditation. While they were warm up, Yosup and JooYah are usually in the administrative offices. Today, they weren’t, and when JooYah finally showed up, she explained their tardiness: Yosup was in a bicycle accident, and he was in the hospital! He was out a short time later and seemed okay, except for 15 stitches in his head and a few extra scrapes on his face and arm. He stayed with us all day, which surprised me. I thought he might have gone home to rest.
I learned more about the history of Tuida today. As best I can tell, Yosup founded the company with JooYah, HyeRan, Yong, and one other actor (who has since left the company) a number of years ago. They’ve since had two rounds of addition to the company: Sock and SooAh joined in 2005, and Ara, Hee, and Joe joined in January. There is a clear hierarchy among the actors, though I’m surprised at how well they support each other as a company.
In our afternoon session, we worked through the show once, and ran the show once. We added a little bit to the show, and with the changes from yesterday, we’re now running at 45 minutes. After the run, Eli gave some notes:
HyeRan functions as the leader of the actors, representing their concerns to us (her English is by far the strongest), translating Eli’s notes, and generally marshalling the company towards whatever ends need to be achieve. She is small, but she is mighty, and as you can see by her hands, she’s rarely still:
Our run was a great success. We’ve got a few bugs to iron out, including some new choreography that needs to be super-precise. Tomorrow is a full day of incorporating tech, so we are getting ready for a long and stressful day. In preparation for that and in celebration of a great afternoon session, we took the evening session off. Eli and I treated the company to a Korean BBQ dinner at a local restaurant.
Korean BBQ is primarily pork, but it’s served with a dozen side dishes. On the grill was pork, kimchee, bean sprouts, and garlic. In side dishes were spicy greens, pickled garlic, red bean sauce, sesame oil, apple salad (which reminded me of the salad that Sarah’s grandmother makes back in Iowa), rice, egg, and pickled sesame leaves. Also, there was a big dish of fresh lettuce and sesame leaves. With Korean BBQ, you use a lettuce of sesame leaf to hold meat and condiments. Then, you pile the whole thing in your mouth in one gargantuan bite. It was very good! So much flavor! Also, I finally had soju! It has a tart taste to it, but it wasn’t nearly as potent as I thought it would be. After all of the hoopla about it, I thought it would be more intense, but I had four or five glasses (learning much about the proper way to serve and be served soju) without really feeling it. Here’s a group of us (Sock, me, Eli, Ara, and Yong) at the restaurant:
After we ate, Eli pulled out a rubber mask that got passed around the table. Here are two favorite photographs of those crazy masked Koreans. HyeRan (with part of Yosup’s post-accident face):
And Joe, wearing Sock’s hat and holding a bottle of soju:
After dinner, we walked down the river that bisects the city, watched the fish being fed, and headed back to the studio. We all said our goodnights, and then Sock drove us back to the hotel. I wasn’t ready for the night to be over, so Sock took us to a batting cage on the side of the road. I went in the fastball cage, and did better than I thought I’d do, considering I haven’t swung a bat in 15 years. Then, we wandered through the fish market, stopping at a statue for photo:
Sock found us a bar, where we had one drink before saying our goodnights. Sock went home to his pregnant wife, and Eli and I retired to our respective rooms. We’re meeting a little later tomorrow morning, so that we can get some sleep and be ready for tomorrow’s intense day of tech!