Festival Postscript #9: Book Readings & Performances
Novelist Hae Yisoo / Dance: Lim Se-na, Choi Yong-won
The pastures and deserts of Mongolia, which served as the setting for Hae Yisoo’s short story “End ba Tend” (Here and There), formed the
backdrop for his book reading. The plaintive notes of the morin khuur filled the air. After the reading was over, dancers Lim Se-na and Choi
Yong-won took to the stage. Their dance, which had elements of ballet, modern dance and b-boying moves, seemed to be performed by the
male and female protagonists in the story who could neither approach nor let go of each other easily. The dancers’ movements and expressions
depicted the story’s delicate and tender emotions that were inexpressible in words.
Novelist Lucy Fricke (Germany) / Dance: Choi Jin-su Ballet troupe
Lucy Fricke read the monologue of her story’s protagonist who reminisces about the past as she travels to meet her mother’s old flame.
The ballet dancers took up the remainder of the story. In contrast to the dance for Hae Yisoo’s story, which was young and sensual, the
dance for Lucy Fricke’s story was a traditional ballet. The male ballet dancer and the ballerina dressed in black and white respectively put on a beautiful show in which the protagonist’s yearning for the man who she had wanted to become (and who had almost become) her step-dad could be deeply felt.
Novelist Hwang Jung Eun / Reading: Kang Ji-eun, Kim Hyo-jin
“I’m falling…. I fall, fall, and fall,” says the protagonist who keeps plunging endlessly as the concepts of time and space become blurred.
Together with two actors, author Hwang Jung Eun read the protagonist’s monologue that set forth the loneliness and fear of those who fall.
Seated at different spots in the gallery, the three people read out lines at times separately and at times together, thus recreating acoustically
the effect of the story where words repeat and overlap. The reading sounded like a solitary monologue at times, and a desperate cry or a languid
conversation at others.
Novelist Yoko Tawada (Germany) / Drum: Mun Geun-seong
The book reading performance started with the beats of drummer Mun Geun-seong. Yoko Tawada strode around the gallery. Every time
the word “tongue” came up, she would hold up a paper with the character 舌 on it. At some point, the subdued sounds of the drumbeats
started creating tension during the reading. Pieces of red-colored paper and small feathers fluttered down over the audience. The drum beat
sounds grew stronger while the author’s voice became fiercer and her breath grew quicker. One could grasp how sharply and relentlessly the author had agonized about language. After the reading ended, the drum performance started in earnest with the drummer playing freely with rhythm and sound. The applause that began once the drumbeats reached the climax of the performance knew no end.
Poet Kim Haengsook / Dance: Lee Yun-jeong
Shrouded in darkness, Kim Haengsook started reciting her poem “Hug” in a slow, firm voice that sounded as if she did not want to miss even
the minutest detail. Lee Yun-jeong started dancing to the recitation of “The Location of a Neck.” Carrying a transparent round ball on her head, the dancer moved nimbly as if she were in a state of weightlessness. Kim Haengsook moved on to her poems, “Kiss in a Forest” and “A Bed Speaks.” The poet’s dreamy voice and the dancer’s movements seemed to awaken the audiences’ dulled sensibility. The dancer finished her dance but her presence seemed to linger on stage, as the poet recited the final poem, “This Book.” The closing words of the poem seemed to linger in the air even after she exited.
Poet Yuan Tian (China) / Flamenco: Kim Sun hoa, Kim Hyeon, Yang Mal-bok, Yun Bu-jin, Lee Eun-sol
The poet recited three of his poems in Japanese: “A Tree in a Dream,” “A River in a Dream,” and “Dream Snake.” The audiences were all
ears even as the poet recited the poems without the support of sound effects. The Flamenco troupe interpreted two poems that the poet
did not recite through dance. The three dancers chanted verses from “In the Dead of Night” while dancing in a sensual yet restrained manner. The tapping of their red shoes filled the gallery. For the second poem “Dreaming of Dying,” they performed to the song of a singer while waving a red cloth. The bold and decisive language of the poems seemed to come alive through the dance.
Novelist Park Seongwon / Radio Play: Voice actors Kim Ki-cheol, Mun Nam-suk
Park Seongwon’s short story “Find Her For Me Between Rage And Submission” was easily the most erotic among all the works submitted to
the festival. The theme song for the radio play performance based on the story was David Bowie’s “Ground Control to Major Tom,” which the
author said had given him the idea for the story. The song’s lyrics, which consist of a conversation between Major Tom who flies into space
and the ground control on Earth, are similar to the auditory hallucination the protagonist suffers from. The voices of the two voice actors had
a surprising expressiveness that captured emotions and vocalization that resonated around the gallery. Their performance created a virtual reality inside the gallery that was even more vivid than reality itself. Everyone’s imagination about the parts of the story that could not be seen or touched grew stronger.
Novelist Riza Kirac (Turkey)
Originally, a short film directed by the author himself was scheduled to be screened. However, when a technical difficulty made the screening impossible, Riza Kirac improvised and stepped on the stage as a director cum actor. He declared that instead of a flashy performance he would show his true face. Before stepping on the stage, he removed his shoes and socks, and took off his jacket. He sat down at the table to write but soon, as if not feeling refreshed, he took off his shirt as well and then opened a can of beer. Lighting a cigarette, he put his feet up on the table and seemed to think of the first sentence. Finally barely being able to remember the sentence, he started narrating his story. At the end, the cheers of the other writers who felt a sense of kinship with his performance were the loudest among the crowd.