"Dallae’s Story,” a non-verbal puppet show, is returning to the local stage after touring Japan, Spain, France, Denmark and Estonia.
Its first international recognition was at the 2009 World Festival of Puppet Theatres held in Charleville-Mesieres, France. The show also received the top prize at the Tolosa International Puppetry Festival in Titirijai, Spain as the first Korean performance in the same year.
“Art Stage San intelligently directs a production in which the charm and magic of puppets are combined with beautiful choreographies ... In my opinion, we are facing one of the universal puppet theatre masterpieces of the last ten years,” said Miguel Arreche, co-director at Titirijai.
In June 2010, the show performed in Theatre World Brno in the Czech Republic and was invited to the Kijimuna Festa in Okinawa and toured other regions of Japan including Tokyo, Osaka and Yokohama for three years from 2010.
Based on the story of the Korean War in the 1950s, the piece does not directly talk about the war itself, but portrays the efforts of a family to overcome hardship in wartime.
The performance also features traditional Korean music, simple but effective sets, and a unique mixture of performers and puppets.
Art Stage San, the production company, said that the show has appealed more to overseas audiences than in Korea as puppet shows are seen as children’s plays here. But European countries and Japan which have a strong fan base for puppet shows highly appreciated the true value of “Dallae’s Story.”
“Dallae’s Story” is about a family in times of war. Dallae, portrayed as a puppet, goes outside to collect blooming flowers, in the summertime she goes fishing with her father and in the autumn she catches dragonflies and picks apples, and makes a snowman in winter. However their happy moment turns into tragedy after the war begins. Dallae is left alone after her father is conscripted.
Then, the war-stricken tragedy is told through the eyes of the innocent Dallae in a fairytale-like fantasy. The story is expressed through the hand manipulations of the puppets from the birth of the daughter and their happy, sweet family life to wartime in a play within a play with sets of the four seasons representing life and the passage of time.
Premiered in 2003, the show has evolved from its early format to the current version. Various artists from mime performers, photographers to video artists have collaborated to discuss the nature of the war, human rights and war cruelty. The title of the show also changed from “When Spring Comes” and “War” to the current “Dallae’s Story.” After the numerous transformations in the format and story, the show has its own identity, focusing on the story of Dallae.
“Dallae’s Story” will be on stage at Art Hall in Garden Five in Seoul from Sept. 28 to Oct. 2. Tickets cost 30,000 won. For more information call (031) 836-2993.