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Dongnae Yaryu
Masked Dance-Drama,
A Traditional Korean Folk Theatre Festival
November 18, 2003

Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2:00 p.m., Wang Center Theatre. Admission is free on a first come, first served basis.

Photo: Dongnae YaryuThe Dongnae Yaryu Masked Dance-Drama Preservation Society, a troupe of 27 performers and musicians, brings new life to a venerable art form in a special performance at the Wang Center Theatre.

The troupe's specialty is a form of Korean folk theatre that originated in Dongnae, a fishing community in the South Kyoungsang Province in the extreme southeastern tip of Korea. The Dongnae Yaryu history spans over 200 years, though Korean historical sources have descriptions of masked dance-drama dating from the early 16th century.

Dongnae Yaryu is a festive comedy in which laughter triumphs over fear of the supernatural and the oppression imposed on commoners by rapacious officials and overbearing gentry. The masked dance-drama is an example of the transformation and evolution of ancient ritual into folk entertainment. Masks with frightening expressions inspired by awe of the supernatural are emblematic of class archetypes transposed into social satire.

This troupe has been invited to the annual Margaret Mead Festival at the American Museum of Natural History will also perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C,. following their performance at the Wang Center. This is the 10th in a series of performances by the Asian Performing Arts Series, which include Korean court music and dance; Japanese Kabuki and Kyogen workshops; and 100 Ghost Stories performed by internationally renowned actress Kayoko Shiraishi.

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