Review by Kate Gaul
Korea’s Theatre Haddangse presents “Wait!”, an exhilarating children's play about Bada, a young girl, creating an adventure of her own while she yearns for her fisherman dad to return home.
The entire production is championing the use of imagination and a thousand ways to use cardboard. Once we enter the space all the audience is invited onstage to participate in around 15 minutes of hands-on creative work. We are asked to draw either a fish or a star and to outline it with some glow-in-the-dark sticky tape. The cast then Velcro the drawings onto sticks for use later in the production.
Back in our seats, the cast bring out some carboard coils and demonstrate how they can be made to look like boats or buildings or anything really. The entire production is non-verbal or rather, it’s a gibberish. It’s very accessible. We are introduced to Bada and her love of a baseball glove, catching and throwing. The cast perform a sequence and provide the foley sound effects from offstage. I gather this is a company signature as it was used to great effect in another production of theirs “At That Time, Byeon” – currently playing at Greenside as part of Edinburgh Fringe. It is extremely effective.
Then something amazing happens – a large white screen falls to the ground at the back of the theatre and the cast literally sprawl on stage working flat on their backs. The action is streamed to the screen from a camera overhead. We can see both the cast working unnaturally on the ground and what looks the right way around on the screen. It becomes fun when the company use a combination of an actor lying on the ground and one standing upright. There are many comic and charming sequences. It becomes magical as Bada, our hero, enters an underwater environment. Like most theatre once we head into the “unreal” things get interesting. Blacklight is used to create a glow-in-the-dark scene inside a whale’s stomach. Dancing skeletons, stars in the night sky also glow. Occasionally a video animation is added to the scene – for example when Bada crawls though and underground tunnel the tunnel space is evident, and the rest of the screen is black.
It's quite hard to describe the feeling of seeing how an effect is being created and the actual effect. The demystification of the process actually adds a layer of sophistication. This is 45 minutes of sheer genius from a highly energised, creative, and positive company. I am glad to have caught it. Oh, and we got to take out art works home.