Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review 1 - Nutcracker Gone Indian in the Underworld - La Bayadere

Last weekend I had the privilege of attending La Bayadere at The Seoul Arts Center. I went in with mid-level expectations that were not truly defied until the final act of the performance. The premise of the story is a love square with a death of one of the lovers. The first two acts were a Nutcracker like performance - everyone sits on stage and takes turns dancing.
Despite my lack of interest and longing for a candy-cane in mid-April I was impressed by the number of men on stage. Other than that the first two acts were not very interesting.

The third act blew away my expectations. One of the lovers is killed by another lover at a wedding. The third act is about the living lover taking a long hit of opium and then visiting the underworld to reconcile with his dead lover.

The lighting is what made this act. At first I was a disgruntled audience viewer wondering why my eyes were playing tricks one me. Too much chocolate cake at intermission? Once I realized that the lighting was an intentional affect I stopped rubbing my eyes and stared in awe at the stage. A gray film-like blanket of light played tricks on my eyes that created a piercing red glow underneath the dancers' movements. This reminded me of the final act in Swan Lake which I later read was inspired by the third act of La Bayadere - go figure.

Image Credit: The Korea Times

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