Nanta Saturday Brunch Show

Nanta is Korea’s longest running performance show. My friend the internet told me that since its debut in 1997, it has drawn the largest audience in the history of performing arts in Korea. In 2004 it became the first Asian show to appear on Broadway. The Korea Tourism Organization has identified Nanta as one of the top 10 things to see in Seoul. Over 4,000,000 people have seen it worldwide. The accolades go on and on.

Last Saturday I went to the sold out Nanta Saturday Brunch Show at their Gangbuk Joeng Dong Theatre. I saw it advertised on 10 Magazine’s website as an event for foreigners. My girl and I have been wanting to go for a while now, and the half priced tickets sealed the deal.

Brunch was served prior to the performance. Your choice of deli sandwiches from Suji’s, Nanta cupcakes or butter bread, along with coffee or juice was available. After snagging your snack and beverage, your complimentary swag was determined by a game of chance. Reaching in to a basket and pulling out a piece of paper revealed your gift. My better half made out well because both of us selected the essential rose mist facial mist with “anti-oxidant power” by Berrisom. Other gifts included souvenirs such as Nanta stickers and feather pens.

The lobby was crowded and hot, so we made our way in to the much cooler theater to catch the showing of Disney’s Fantasia. I wondered the significance behind featuring this particular film as a warm up. Nanta is advertised as a non-verbal performance. I didn’t see the whole movie on this day, but as I watched Fantasia for the first time (I never saw it as a kid or under the influence of drugs as a college student) I noticed that with the exception of the intermission where the narrator introduces the viewers to the soundtrack, Fantasia too was a not using words to tell its story of psychedelic evolution. Very clever of you Nanta.

Just before the main event, we were greeted by a power point style presentation. It welcomed the audience the performance and informed us of the rules (no cameras, no leaving the theater, feel free to clap and cheer). It also announced that 3 lucky grand prize winners would be revealed after the conclusion of the show, so don’t hustle out too fast.

From the get go, the performance is intriguing, loud and percussive. Nanta tells a story of the chaos that ensues as four cooks fumble around the kitchen, preparing a stress induced feast for a wedding banquet. Few words are spoken during the performance and kitchen utensils are used to pound out traditional Korean percussion called Samullori. My friend the internet says that the word Nanta figuratively refers to reckless punching, such as in a street fight. However Nanta literally means random drum-beats.

Korean humor plays a big part of show as actors interact directly with the audience. Random viewers are pulled on stage for 2 different scenes of the story. Plates are tossed and garbage cans are stuffed. Knives are pounded as vegetables are rhythmically chopped. We sat in the second row and could smell the onions and carrots actually being cooked on stage.

After the performance, the audience continued to clap and cheer as the screen divulged the grand prize winners. Prizes included a polaroid camera, some luggage and an over night stay in a Seoul hotel. The little German children sitting in the front row were aggressively tossing performance remnants back on to the stage throughout the announcement, completely annoying the attendants who did a good job at remaining calm.

The Saturday Brunch Show was an excellent idea and a lot of fun. It ended early enough to grab a bite and enjoy the Gwanghwamun/Insadong/Cheonggyecheon area before returning home for a late dinner. I’m not aware of any future plans for another International 1/2 price performance, but I definitely recommend Nanta regardless to anyone planning on spending time in Seoul.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on March 29, 2010.

One Response to “Nanta Saturday Brunch Show”

  1. We are definitely seeing all sides of Korea and it’s awesome to know that this place is filled with so much rich culture, fun and excitement and that we take advantage of the opportunities to experience it. Such a wonderful experience to share with you. Thank you so much for a wonderful date šŸ™‚

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