Ten years ago the inaugural Korean Theatre Festival arrived in New York with founder Du-Yee Chang performing an original one-man show based on one of Franz Kafka’s novels. Chang, along with 16 other performers from various Seoul theater companies, descend on The Secret Theatre in Long Island City from June 29th through July 3rd to stage three plays as part of the fourth edition of the festival dedicated to Korean theater.
Chang sees the event as a sort of cultural exchange to introduce American audiences to traditional Korean theater. “When we do a Shakespeare play, we are not doing it in an Elizabethan style,” Chang said. “We transform it so Korean audiences can feel familiar with it. It is sort of like how in America, ‘Romeo & Juliet’ became ‘West Side Story.’”
No large-scale musicals are on tap for this year’s festival, but Chang said the three plays scheduled show the variety of what is happening in Korean theater.
“Counselor,” written and directed by Hyun Suk Cha, revolves around the owner of a coffee shop, who offers advice to emotionally and mentally wounded patrons, but who has no memory of his own past. “This is a very modern Korean play,” Chang said. “It is really an interesting psychological drama — like a Harold Pinter play.”
In “The Genius Magician, Young-Sil Chang,” a young magician is the reincarnation of a genius inventor from the 15th-century Chosun Dynasty. Living in a beautiful fictional world, the young magician uses his powers to fight those set on destroying nature.
Both plays will be performed with subtitles displaying English translations of the dialogue.
Although “Same Story, Different Day,” a piece written to mark the 65th Anniversary of the Korean War, will be performed without titles, Chang believes the story will be understood by English-speaking audience members with its use of movement and pantomime.
Although Korean ex-patriots are most likely to attend the festival, Chang hopes to reach plenty of American theatergoers as well.
“We are aiming for both,” he said. “For New Yorkers, these are good plays for theater performances. Korean theater can introduce a different dimension or style.”
June 29 through July 3
Korean Theatre Festival in New York
44-02 23rd St., Long Island City
Cost: $10/general, $7/seniors and students
Plan on spending Saturday, June 30th at the second annual Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World at Flushing Meadows, Corona Park. Queens has long been proud of its’ contribution to jazz history. This festival celebrates the life and legacy of one of America’s musical icons, Louis Armstrong, with a day of music, food, tours, and fun.
Arrive at 12 noon at The Backyard Bash and Pops’ Place located at the Queens Museum. The Backyard Bash features family-friendly activities throughout the park. Pop’s Place offers Satchmo-inspired tunes played by DJ Cochon de Lait, DJ Sultán Balkanero, and DJ Rekha. Enjoy the music while the kiddies take advantage of the space provided in the family area for interactive exhibitions and an art-making table.
Main Stage performances kick-off at 12:30 PM. This year’s music line-up blends traditional jazz with modern favorites and boasts entertainment by Lauryn Hill, Antibalas, Ozomatli, Rebirth Brass Band, and the Shannon Powell Traditional All-Star Band.
The legendary Lauryn Hill broke new ground for female artists in hip-hop, becoming one of the most dominant musical figures of the ’90s, and the first hip-hop artist to take home a Grammy for Album of the Year. Ms. Hill rose to international fame when the Fugees’ 1996 album, The Score, topped charts around the world. A seasoned performer, Ms. Hill continues to impress fans with her substance-over-style approach.
Antibalas, (Spanish for bullet-proof), the 12-piece ensemble is credited with carrying the Afrobeat torch into developing a powerful live show that is the stuff of legend. Since their beginning in 1998, the group has performed at major venues throughout New York City, and in 32 countries around the world.
The Grammy-winning multicultural L.A. party band, Ozomatli, is known for its “effortless mashup of musical styles.” The band is a super mixture of hip-hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga – and any other sounds you might expect to hear while driving through the melting pot of Los Angeles with your windows down.
Rebirth Brass Band
Grammy-winning Rebirth Brass Band is a true New Orleans institution. The band has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to playing festivals and stages all over the world. While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, they have also extended themselves into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound.
In the wake of the sometimes-stringent competition among New Orleans brass bands, Rebirth is the undisputed leader of the pack.
A leading force on the traditional jazz circuit, Shannon Powell is a highly sought after drummer and percussionist who has achieved international acclaim for his commanding technique and style, rooted in the characteristic funky drum beats of New Orleans.
For those interested in learning more about the relationship of the borough of Queens with the jazz art form, The Queens Museum is offering city tours of notable jazz spots on the Panorama of the City of New York, the crown jewel of their collection. Tours will start every hour and are offered in English and Spanish. Audio and video of Louis Armstrong will be shown in the space between tours.
Stop at the food court to sample a wide variety of local food trucks and flavors. There’s a variety of ethnic cuisine and old school favorites available and, of course, Louis’ favorite food — rice and beans!
Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World is a free all-ages event open to the public. However, you must have a free ticket to access the Main Stage area. Register online today at http://www.armstrongswonderfulworld.com, as tickets are limited.
Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World
Flushing Meadows, Corona Park
Avenue of Peace & Avenue of Asia
Corona, NY 11368
Saturday, June 30, 2015
Noon – 8:00pm