Streets of Ansan become fantasy world
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Streets of Ansan, Gyeonggi Province, will turn into a paradise of artistic and unique performances from May 5 to 8.
The Ansan Street Arts Festival (ASAF) will see participation from 43 troupes from 11 countries to transform the local streets into a giant stage. Among them, official invitees are 11 groups from overseas and nine domestic ones. Another 17 will participate in the fringe section and six university troupes will showcase their artistic potential.
The main events will take place at Ansan 25’ Square, a new landmark that opened last December. All events are free.
“We will make this festival an international carnival of street arts, beyond a local festival,” Kim In-sook, general director of Ansan Arts Center, said. The art center is organizing the festival with support from Ansan City.
“Theatre Nomad: Old Song’s Odyssey” will open up the festival on May 5. This performance is a collaboration of Snuff Puppets, an Australian puppet theater company, and Korean performance group Tuida.
Kim Jong-seok, artistic director of the festival and professor at the Department of Theatrical Performance in Yong In University, said, “The theme of ASAF is ‘Dreaming in the Streets.’ We tried to balance the artistry and popularity by staging a performance through cooperation of local and international companies as well as even citizens.”
This is a “nomadic” performance, as the troupes prepare for the performance at a dome installed at the square through workshops with citizens, making puppets and props, Kim said. The dome will be open for a workshop from April 29 and Ansan City Choir will join in the opening show.
The closing performance is “Image par Image” by the French troupe Cie Karnavires, embroidering the city with fireworks, projections and a street parade for an hour on May 8.
Atempo Circ, a modern circus troupe from Spain, will premiere their work “Atempo” in Korea from May 5 to 7, while the bulky puppets of “Les Tonys” by Cie Albedo will “guard” visitors to the Ansan 25’ Square throughout the festival.
Australian company Art Engine Inc. will create a rumpus with their “Three Men in a Tub” and Daichi from Japan will present “Comic Mime.” Dinosaurs of “Saurus” by Netherland’s Close-Act Theatre should not be missed.
Korean troupes will stage a variety of street arts as well. Social Enterprise Noridan will perform “Nomad of Zagra.” In the street performance, aliens made from recycled materials ask citizens to join their group and have some outdoor fun. It became popular after being featured in the MBC hit variety program “Just Married.”
Theatre Momggol, known for its corporal movement, will present “Handcart, Overturned” at the 2011 ASAF. Studio365’s giant puppets will greet visitors at their performance “Alice,” while Centre d’Arts Sans Frontieres will present “Flying Dreams,” including buildings next to the square as part of the show.
Started in 2005, the festival is a major event held in Ansan, which has a population of 750,000. In 2009, the festival marked some 700,000 visitors.
“The ASAF is a leading festivity in the field of street arts in Korea. We want to make this like Stockton International Riverside Festival of the U.K. or Chalon dans la Rue of France,” the artistic director said.
Visit www.ansanfest.com for more information. Brochures in Korean, English, Japanese and Chinese will be available at the square.