Day 8 in Korea with Taroo

written by Francine Dulong

Today was a great day - as a team we feel good about all the ideas and pieces we have come up with around housing. At times it had been a furious whirlwind of words and gestures, at other times slow and steadily we work thru to mutual understanding. We have a tiny bit more digging to do but a show structure is coming in sight!

Bora, Haeweon and I finished up some community research today at Bora's swimming pool. Upon first thought, this may seem like a strange place to ask people questions about housing. Yet approaching strangers on the street here has to be done with care, and speaking with Bora's swimming ladies proved to be super informative. With cups of coffee in hand, they spoke of family, wanting to have space of their own and spaces to go out together. When asked if they could change anything about where they live, we all laughed and chortled as one lady jokingly said her husband! These exuberant ladies with chocolate maple cookies (yes two of them had just returned from Canada!) were a contrast to Haeweon and my experience of the night before. With clipboard in hand we had braved the picnicking crowd at a park in Hongdae district. On a balmy early October evening, anyone would be slightly taken aback if a foreigner walked up to you, cheerily saying hi and then hushed into silence as their business partner took over the explanation. I laugh at my bumbling attempt to learn a simple phrase stating in Korean that "we are Blooming Ludus, a theatre company from London" but it did see to help somewhat with the awkwardness.

We returned to Taroo rehearsal space with food for thought and launched right into the traditional dance for Gang Gang Sol Lae! The moves range from exacting for professionals to a simple dance that most Korean people learn in elementary school, like a childhood folk song that you know the gestures to. We had a ball of a time doing it together(there might even be a video!)  and the ensuing discussion on how we could adapt it for the show was just as lively. Without giving too much away, let me say the dance can get messy, it's about union, and there may be boxes involved. ;) Tangible was a word that came up often...

Which led us to our last two explorations: 

  1. the moment of when a house becomes a home. Visualisations have proved to be a very good tool for us as an ensemble, bridging the gap of abstract and movement to something tangible through sensory memory and words. We will finish tomorrow and see where it takes us with the aim of finding the theatricality and narrative in that moment - what is it all about/how can we represent it? 
  2. Bora brought up a very important point - how do we include the community research into our piece?  Sometimes artist do this type of work just to make themselves feel better and don't use it at all. Where the public's opinions surface in the show and the invitations to the audience is what tomorrow is all about...

stay tuned!