Monday, June 25, 2012

Seussical at the Haeachi Hall in Myeongdong

A good friend of mine, that I don't see very often, invited me to see Seussical the musical with her and her two sons. This would be my first theatre performance I saw (outside of school field trips) in Seoul, so I was excited.

If you don't know the stories by Dr. Seuss then maybe you ought to crawl out of that rock your living under. Actually, I don't know that many by him and mostly the more common ones. The show I saw mostly used the plot from Horton Hears a Who to weave together other stories from the Dr. Seuss collection.

The production of Seussical was put on by the members of the Camarata Music Company (CMC). An international group, with members ranging from 35 countries and having the "vision" to give high quality performances. Ryan Goessl is the general director and the cast included members with years of experience to those just having their first show.

All together it was a fun and whimsical production, and one that was especially amusing to the young folks in the crowd. It took place at the Seoul Global Culture & Tourism Center in Myeongdong. Tickets were from 15,000 to 25,000 depending on when you reserved them.

Watching the play I was suddenly reminded of the feeling one gets when seeing live theatre. There's a lot to take in from the costumes, set and voices of the actors on stage. Since the play was in English, there was a small strip above the stage displaying Korean subtitles. Otherwise, I actually found it kind of difficult to hear what the actors were saying as their mics often didn't work, or the live orchestra was too loud. However, the live music made the play have more of an authentic feel.

Act 1 was setting up the story about young JoJo and Horton discovering each other, but Horton was being teased by local jungle mates for talking to a plant. It weaved in many other Seuss stories, however I didn't really find myself familiar with them. It was mainly a story about keeping your beliefs and staying loyal to friends.

I have to say I enjoyed the second act more, mostly because it felt like the scenes were less of a tease and more pulled together.

It was an all together fun play to watch, and the kids in the audience had a good time. I think they could have tried a bit harder on the set decorations, but the usage of fun and comical props here and there were adequate. Costumes were bright and lively, yet maybe could have been more exaggerated in tone, since this was a Dr. Seuss inspired piece of work. There were times when they were singing in groups and the pair in front were so tightly packed next to each other that I couldn't really see the other actors behind them.

As having worked at a theatre camp in the catskills of New York, I can recall what it is like to learn and perform in a play. It's a lot of hard work and I'm sure these members had regular jobs to accompany this play.

In the end, the audience was pleased (including the little girl you see there) and that's what matters. That everyone has a good time.

Unfortunately I watched their last performance, but you can still catch other happenings by this group. Future events include, Chamber Singers, and other orchestral concerts. Or in general you can find other happenings going on at the Seoul Center.

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