Korean performing group TUIDA has kindly shared with DramaDose some interesting insights on their award-winning production The Tale Of Haruk, which recently played in Chennai and Bangalore to packed audiences.
In conversation with HeeJin Lee, the associate producer and tour manager of TUIDA.
Shuchi: What was the inspiration for the story of The Tale Of Haruk?
TUIDA: There was a character in the Korean old folk tale, which ate everything made of steel. We started from that character and put several motifs of old stories together in this story.
Shuchi: The Tale Of Haruk has sombre undertones; it isn’t uniformly cheery as children’s plays tend to be. The night of Haruk’s transformation is rather spooky. Did you have any qualms at all that the script might be too heavy or scary for children to handle?
TUIDA: I don’t think children’s play should be cheery only. Children can accept and enjoy scary, sombre, spooky things also. That they will find it difficult to do so is a misconception about children.
Children’s worlds are much deeper and wider and more sophisticated than adults think.
Shuchi: The word ‘haruk’ had a special role in the play – it can mean anything! What made you choose this word and not any other? Does ‘haruk’ actually mean something in Korean?
TUIDA: Actually ‘Haruk’ means nothing. But as you’ve seen in the show, it means everything.
Shuchi: It is said that connoisseurs derive interpretations in art that the artist never intended. Do you find that happening with The Tale Of Haruk?
TUIDA: Well, a certain critic said that this story is about the metaphor of the creation of the universe.
Shuchi: Which countries has The Tale of Haruk travelled to? Do you prepare yourself differently for performing in different countries? Do you see any change in the reception the show receives at different places?
TUIDA: We have been in China, Japan, Australia, Austria, Turkey, Singapore, Russia.
In the prologue, we play a famous folk song or children’s song of each country. It makes the audience feel friendly.
The response of the audience is very different in the different countries. Indian audiences are very energetic. They accept everything like a sponge.
Shuchi: Tell us something about your other shows.
TUIDA: We do have 4-5 more shows based on our own distinct methods developed through a continuous process of actor training that incorporates movement meditation, body/voice work and dynamic use of puppets, masks and other objects.
Like Hamlet Cantabile, it’s a farcical storywhich deals with tragedy with the playful attitude of ‘Unfortunately, I am still alive in this idiotic world!’ Four jesters play with bits and pieces left behind by the dead Hamlet. Using masks, puppets, and other assorted objects, while singing bizarre and grotesque songs, the jesters evoke the inner world of Hamlet and the people around him.
And Alice Project is a story about the ironic reality in a modern society inspired from and by Lewis Carroll. Alice and the other characters seem to be all peaceful in time and space, however, they actually have to face cruel realities such as war. The play is like a festival which breathes in and out in perfect harmony with audiences including vivid music, improvising movement, dance, and peculiar dolls.
We’re also going to make a new intercultural production with puppets and masks in collaboration with Australian troupe Snuff Puppet in 2011.