New Zealand Ambassador to Seoul Patrick Rata, right, gives a speech during the reception at the opening of The Arrival at the LG Art Center in southern Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of New Zealand Embassy
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Korean fans were fascinated with an award-winning play performed by New Zealand’s Red Leap Theatre in southern Seoul last week.
The audience had fun for the entire 90 minutes when the Kiwi troupe performed “The Arrival,” the story of a journey by a man to a strange, wondrous new land. The show featured puppets as little creatures such as a tadpole, a cat and a dragon tail.
It described the lead character’s adventure to the new land where giant ships fly in the air. During his travels, he meets other migrants each with their own tale to tell.
The play is based on a book of the same title written by Shaun Tan.
It won six prizes in the 2010 Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards.
Helena Kim, an egg artist based both in Seoul and Christchurch, said the performance was sophisticated, adding she really enjoyed it.
All the seats in the theater were filled with people of all age groups. They applauded long after the final curtain call.
Julie Nolan, director of the performance, said her troupe wanted to honor migrants, refugees, and displaced people all around the world as their numbers grow every day.
“We’d like The Arrival to pay tribute to migrants and refugees,” she said.
Asked why the performance is popular among Asian audiences, Nolan said she felt they loved the puppets and little creatures and things like that in the play.
In a speech during the reception for the opening night of the play, Patrick Rata, New Zealand ambassador to South Korea, called it a fantastic performance.
The Red Leap company performed the play for four days starting from Thursday at the LG Arts Center.
This was the first time for the award-winning piece to be performed in South Korea. Before Seoul, the company also gave successful performances in Hong Kong, Sydney and New Zealand.