Touted as a must-see traditional performance of Korea, Miso is a smorgasbord of Korean tradition served to audiences in an 80-minute performance.
No, it is not a play about the Japanese seasoning; miso is a Korean word that means “beautiful smile”.
From the traditional musical storytelling style Pansori to the traditional percussion quartet Samulnori and the captivating fan dance Buchaechum — the night served as an introduction to Korean traditional performances.
It was also a visually appealing show with beautiful and colourful traditional costumes.
Miso: Baebijang-jeon is a classic, satirical novel written by an unknown author in the late Joseon Dynasty. This novel was adapted as a Korean traditional opera and musical.
It was rewritten to incorporate traditional Korean movements, sounds, and theatrical devices, and was Jeongdong Theater’s special performance and new work of art for 2014.
In a “Survey of Regular Performances” by the Korea Tourism Organisation in 2012, it won the Best Performance Award and was voted Level of Satisfaction #1 by foreign audiences.
The theatre has been presenting masterpieces since 1997 to introduce and popularise Korean traditional culture and art around the globe.
"Bae Geol-deok-swe, who is appointed to the government position of the secretary in charge of culture and art. He goes to his new post in Jeju Island with the new district magistrate.
There, Secretary Bae does not mingle with the people at the welcoming party of the new magistrate. Instead, he goes around scolding the other secretaries for socialising with gisaengs (courtesans).
The magistrate wants to test Bae, who vows never to be seduced by any kind of temptation and declares that he will handsomely reward anyone who can seduce Bae.
Ae-rang, one of Jeju Island’s most beautiful women, accepts the challenge. The manservant who works for Secretary Bae agrees to help her.
Will Bae fall for the trap or resist Ae-rang’s charms?"
Jeongdong Theater general director Jeong Hyun-wook said audiences who watch the show in South Korea would have an enhanced experience.
“We are unable to transport the full experience to Malaysia. You just have to see it for yourself in Korea.
“We chose to perform in Malaysia as we know that here in South-East Asia, K-pop and K-drama are very popular. Hopefully, people are able to find some similarities,” he said.
Performance director Lee Kyu Woon drew from his own experience as a dancer and sought inspiration from classical literature.
“I would love to know more about Malaysia’s culture and hope there will be increased opportunities for a cultural exchange,” he said.
According to Jeong, 70% of their audiences are tourists and Miso has been performed in more than 30 countries.
Performance in Malaysian (Kuala Lumpur):
The cast from South Korea recently performed for guests who attended the special performance presented by IME productions and Korea Jeongdong theatres at the Sunway Putra Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Fret not if you do not understand Korean as there are very few spoken lines; most of the story is conveyed via dance and the actors’ facial expressions and gestures.
Plus, there were English and Mandarin subtitles during the performance.