Thursday, December 23, 2010

Daehangno 대학로

When we mention theater districts, we could think of New York's Broadway. I know I should not compare but this could be the easiest way to explain the nature of the Daehangno area. The fast growing performing arts industry or theater arts in Korea can be manifested in Daehangno.

When I first came to Korea a year ago, I was very surprised about the popularity of performing arts to both local Koreans and foreigners. I’ve seen some big performances like Jump, Nanta, Sachoom and Ballerina who Loves a Bboy and more many times. Each has its own concept mostly a mixture of two different elements like different kinds of dances, taekwondo and even cooking. You can just imagine the creativity  of how they mixed these elements and appeared as just another sort of art expression. 
Daehangno, which literally means “college street” based on its Chinese character  (大學路), has been the home of Korea’s aspiring theater actors. The 1.1km six-lane road from Hyehwadong rotary to Ihwadong crossroad was designated as street culture on May 5,1985 representing the characteristic of the area.

Once you visit Daehangno, you’ll find yourself looking at the plethora of posters about musicals and plays right from the subway station, Hyehwa Station, to bulletin boards. They even have information centers where you could buy tickets, get information about the current and upcoming shows or you can also use it as a meeting place.

There are also many young people inviting people to watch their shows. There are many theaters, concert halls, and musicals concentrated in Daehangno where a wide variety of performances are held throughout the year. The last time I heard a total of 40 or more small and large theaters. Maybe there are more now.

You’ll never get bored if you come to Daehangno. There are many choices of musicals and plays to watch of different genres. If you visit on weekends you can enjoy Marronnier Park, where you could watch plays or many other performances for free.

If you want to enjoy Korea and Seoul, Daehangno is a must visit place!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Coreal Nights: Hwarang Musical

Since I promised my Hwarang friend I will let more people watch his show, I invited some of my friends to go and watch it. Convincing them was a bit challenging because of the language, Korean. But I guess the language did not hinder the fun and excitement they felt when they watched it. My group Coreal (Jehee, Ben and Annie plus guest Jennifer, Ben's girlfriend kkk) and my other friends Shaki, Hongvan, Windu and Carlos were the first people I invited to watch.

Everyone told me it was great and that they loved it. They even said that the musical has to be in a bigger theater so that it could accommodate more and more audiences. One of my friends said that the ticket was very cheap for the show. It should be more expensive because the quality of the show is really good. We had a discount for the ticket since one of the actors is my friend but still, I guess the original price 30,000 won is not expensive at all.

One of my friends said that she also had so much fun during the autograph signing session with casts. lol. Every after the show, the audience could get signs from the actors. I just find it a bit funny since they get sign from my friend. I'm just not used to it. lol.

Before going, I did not tell them who my friend was so that they would give me fair evaluation after the show. lol. They said all actors' voices were really good. If they were to pick one it would be hard. But most of them said my Hwarang friend is their favorite which made my friend very happy after I told him.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Coreal Nights: Miss Lee Cafe (별다방 미스리)

More and more Korean dramas, movies and shows attract tourists to visit Korea. Many site locations of these famous dramas are being made as tourist spots since some tourists visit them. Whether it's in a remote location like that of Fullhouse or in a crowded streets of Seoul like Coffee Prince in Hongdae. 

My group Coreal visited another famous location site in one of Korea's popular shows, We Got Married (우리 결혼했어요). The show pairs up Korean celebrities to show what life would be like if they were married. Each week, couples are assigned missions to complete, with candid interviews of the participants to reveal their thoughts and feelings. Currently the show is airing three couples, Jo Kwon & Gain, Nichkhun & Victoria and Jung Yong Hwa & Seohyun. (For more information

Miss Lee Cafe is one of the site locations of Yong Hwa and Seohyun's episode. I don't know why it's called Miss Lee Cafe because the Korean name does not say the same. Basically the cafe runs in a unique marketing strategy. It serves a bit pricey Korean lunch boxes and desserts. as how I see it, the cafe tends to appeal to young couples. Some mushiness like writing a message on a piece of paper and hang it on the walls. There are also many cute decorations plus the retro concept. As far as I know there are 2 branches, the one in Daehangno and the other one is in Insadong.