A scene from "Kalguksu (Knife Marks)" by Kim Ae-ran / Courtesy of 12th Tongue Theatre Studio
By Kwon Mee-yoo
At a long table, two pairs of spoons and chopsticks are set on a table mat as if prepared for a meal onstage. Two actresses come out, sit at the table and start to read the short story "Kaljaguk (Knife Marks)" written by Kim Ae-ran.
This is the opening scene in a series of readings titled "Short Story Reading Theater", in which three directors bring to life the works of three promising novelists on the stage at Sanwoollim Theater in Hongdae.
"Knife Marks", directed by Choo Min-joo of the musical "Laundry", kicked off the series Tuesday. The original short story is the winner of the 2008 Lee Hyo-seok Literary Award and included in the book "Chimi Goinda (Salivate)".
In the story, the protagonist remembers her mother through association with knife marks and the sound, taste and smell made by the knife. Her mother operated a "kalguksu" (knife-cut noodle soup) restaurant to make a living and the daughter often saw her mother holding the knife to slice noodles. "Knife Marks" rather plainly portrays a mother-daughter relationships, in which the mother always makes something to eat for the daughter while the daughter grows up eating the same food.
The performance treads a thin line between a reading and a play. The two actresses - Lee Jung-eun and Choi Bo-kwang - mainly recite the short story, but sometimes they act as the mother or the daughter in a metaphorical way while reading the lines.
While the two actresses read through the book, there is another player in the performance - director Choo herself.
She is basically set in front of a counter behind the two readers and a big pot is boiling. She sometimes makes sound effects using a knife and cutting-board while cooking kalguksu onstage. The sound of slicing onions and carrots and the smell of brewing anchovy broth make the performance more solid. As the reading progresses, the counter becomes empty as ingredients are put into the pot and enriches the flavor.
There is a tiny intermission before the short story takes a big turn. The actors, director and audience members share their memories related to the knife. "I think good literary works continuously remind us of our own memories", Choo said, before starting the second half of the story.
There is a noodle sampling after the reading. The reading table becomes a dining table and audience members as well as the actors have a bowl of the kalguksu, just cooked onstage.
Readings of Kim Yeon-su's "Joke, Not Likely to End Easily", directed by Sung Ki-woong, and Kim Mi-wol's "Seoul Cave Guide", directed by Kim Han-nae, continue through Sept. 10 at the same venue. Tickets cost 15,000 won. For more information, call (02) 764-7462.
Source : www.koreatimes.co.kr/...
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