|A performer rehearses his aerial silk performance. / Image courtesy of Robert Evans|
By Celeste Kriel
Starlight Productions will reveal the first of two burlesque play productions on the opening night of their "Burlesque Season," March 9.
The Seoul-based production house stages original plays marrying burlesque and theater, as well as diverse art forms such as drag, aerial silk, aerial hoop and pole, while weaving in aspects of traditional theater. The burlesque aspect also takes on forms such as chair dancing and fire spinning.
Written by Daniel Kennedy, "Open Letters," this season's first play, will be staged March 9, 10, 16 and 17 in collaboration with director Alameen Saidu from The Collective ― another Seoul-based expat performing arts and production company.
Exploring themes of different kinds of love in all its forms, the play aims to tease and challenge ― as all Starlight productions do. It deconstructs society's ideas of romantic love as heteronormative and monogamous and offers other ways of looking at love through stories of different eras.
Starlight Productions co-founder and Open Letters producer Flowerbomb hopes not only for this play to entertain with all its carefully thought-out theatrics and nuanced narrative but for audiences to connect with the message.
"Love may be complicated, but the stories it tells are universal. Open Letters is one of those stories. Through dance, letters, and messages from the 1800s to the far off future, it follows those who have loved and lost and those who hope to love again. Binary ideals are broken to unleash a fuller perspective of what love is and what it could be," Flowerbomb said of the play on Facebook.
|Flowerbomb and an actor play lovers in Open Letters. / Image courtesy of Robert Evans|
This is Saidu's directorial debut, but according to Flowerbomb, Saidu is a natural.
Saidu said the play will take audiences on a journey from the familiar to the unfamiliar.
"It tackles our ideas of how we express love, the type of relationship dynamics we have in society. We tend to narrow our perspective to the heteronormative and monogamous, but we hardly think about other options. For example the love between two male friends and the expressions of that, society doesn't focus on that. So, in Open Letters we build this world the audience is familiar with and then play around and deconstruct it and play with other possibilities," he explained.
As a way to give context to their plays, Starlight publishes rehearsal clips, photos and videos and often has audience surveys before the actual productions to set the stage and immerse the audience in the world of neo-burlesque even before the show starts. Previous productions have had high audience interaction and there were chances for audience members to get involved, and this time it is no different. Come early for a chance to be a part of the love story.
"Open Letters" will be staged at England Pocha in Sinsa-dong, southern Seoul. Doors open at 9 p.m. and the show starts at 10 p.m. General admission is 15,000 won, and VIP tickets cost 20,000 won. Visit starlightburlesque.com for more information on this show and other upcoming productions.