By Showstopper Susan Harrison
This month a mini team of Showstoppers (myself, Andrew Pugsley and Duncan Walsh Atkins) were flown out to South Korea to work with a theatre company in Seoul who are developing an improvised musical. The cast were incredibly brave, generous and crazily talented! On many occasions Andrew and myself exchanged glances of “wow!” “It took me ages to get good at that!” And “when can we poach them and create a bi-lingual cast?” Most of the actors didn’t speak English and sadly our Korean was limited to “thank you” and “snake!” – the word for snake discovered during an improv game – so we communicated through a translator called Sowon. Sowon heroically translated everything and even speedily wrote down in a notepad what was happening, when the cast began to create longer narratives. There were some moments which needed no translation however. An improvised song in which the men sang about getting ready to go out and meet women was crystal clear and could have been performed by our own Showstopper chaps! Another moment which stood out was a musical the cast improvised in which a young orphaned girl, who lived in a town devoid of rainbows, went on a journey to see one for herself. On her way she met her Mother in a dream who told her that she was the rainbow. It’s safe to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the rehearsal room! When the stories are that brilliant, they don’t need translation.
Although we were workshopping every day we did have the chance to see a Korean Musical ( a RomCom) and we sampled endless delicious local food. The hospitality and warmth of everyone we met in Seoul was so wonderful and the whole experience was genuinely very inspiring. We’d go back in a (12 hour flight) heartbeat!