Kosong Villagers put on an incredible performance

The Nov. 4 Mandeville Auditorium production of “”Kosong Okwangedae,”” a masked dance of the Kosong village of South Korea, sounded like it would be another sleeper, but turned out to be incredible entertainment.

Featuring distinctive form of dance that originated in the 10th century and became more broadly established in the 18th century, this show is a historical part of the Kosong society that still has impact with its strong emotion and political overtones.

Broken into five parts including dance scenes that traditionally depict a leper, a ruined aristocrat, and a fallen monk, the show is really a spoof about the corruption of the upper society.

Originally used by the common people to vent tensions in a peaceful way to avoid uprisings, the emotion is still felt through this performance even in an academic setting.

The performers, farmers from the village of Kosong, are traveling in the off-season, using the movements and rhythms from their farming to create a dance full of the emotion of the common people.

With rhythms inspired by the breathing of a worker, and movements inspired by the act of farming, it becomes understandable why some of the audience drove down all the way from San Francisco to see this show.

Full of humor, scenes from the play include a monk being seduced and an aristocrat caught by his abandoned wife in the company of his pregnant mistress.

At the end of the show, the performers make this a truly cultural experience by inviting the audience to join in onstage and be a part of the ending funeral procession and dance after the show to the drumming of the villagers.

At the end, villagers and audience members dance energetically together, making this production worth the $20 admission.

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