Chuncheon mime fest to offer diverse physical theater
By Chung Ah-young
The Chuncheon International Mime Festival (CIMF) first began with only nine Korean performers in its inaugural year in 1989 in the northeastern part of the country. Now, just over twenty years later, the event has grown into one of the world's biggest mime festivals in parallel with the London International Mime Festival in the United Kingdom and the Perigueux's International Contemporary Mime Festival (MIMOS) in France.
The annual performing arts festival focuses on contemporary mime, physical and visual theater, street theater and installation performance. The CIMF is a unique Asian contemporary visual theater festival in which the artists utilize physical expressions and gestures as well as add new and experimental elements to their performances.
For this year, 90 Korean troupes and 10 foreign groups from six countries will participate in the festival under the title of ``Contemporary & New Wave & Public & Timely'' from May 23-30.
In the ``Contemporary'' section, Gecko's ``The Overcoat'' based on Gogol's short story will reflect the repetitive and bureaucratic routine of modern life. The show will create a physical theater performed by actors from various nationalities with dynamic sounds.
Within the ``New Wave'' concept, ``Odotustila,'' which means a waiting room in Finnish, is a new circus mixing juggling and magic in inventive forms through video projection. The show is about two men sitting on a bench in the waiting room of a station, which is symbolized as the center of encountering, coincidence and the intersection of different routes.
``Cocorico'' by French mime artist Patrice Thibaud and pianist Philippe Leygnac will be a show under the ``Public'' concept. The two artists will make hilarious and humorous gestures to the audience.
``The Return'' by Korean theater company Nottle will be presented under the ``Timely'' concept to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the breakout of the Korean War (1950-53). It portrays a wandering man who encounters strangers in a strange place and gets involved in the war. The show satirizes the ideology of power through the death of a man in the middle of war.
For the outdoor program, ``The Old Guy'' by the U.S. theater group Rob Lok will combine a physical comedy and circus on a stage set full of antique furniture and vintage junk.
``Aire'' by Spanish troupe Circoactivo will put on an interactive show by breaking down the barrier between the audience and the performers. The show combines the elements of circus, dance and acrobatics.
Japanese group Thank You Tezuka's ``Mime Comedy'' will present the street performance interacting with visitors through the sequences of irrelevant episodes.
``Barbarabbit's Cabaret Show'' by Japanese troupe Barbara Murata is a unique show combining dramatic, romantic and humorous elements through a female performer's body movements. She creates her own mime style using physical objects.
``Fire Performance Art'' by Japanese group Fire Bandit will perform various kinds of fire shows such as fire breathing, fire eating, fire swords and fire hula hoops.
The festival will take place at Mime House, Chuncheon Culture & Arts Center, Bomnae Theatre and Festival Theater M (Gongjicheon and Children's Hall area) in Chucheon City in Gangwon Province.
The festival organizer offers a free shuttle bus from Nam Chuncheon Station to the venue. For more information, visit www.mimefestival.com or call (033) 250-3067.
Tickets cost from 10,000 to 15,000 won for adults.