VOICES FROM THE STRAW MAT: TOWARD AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF KOREAN STORY SINGING. By Chan E. Park. Honolulu: University of Hawai`i Press, 2003. xii + 340 pp. $44.00. This is a book about p'ansori, a traditional Korean performing art in which a lone vocalist delivers a story through a combination of singing, speech, and gesture to the accompaniment of a small barrel drum. The relevance of reviewing it for a journal devoted to Asian theatre should first perhaps be defended, since the author herself (rightly, I think) refers to p'ansori as a form of storytelling rather than of theatre. Its theatrical elements reside partly in the practices of the solo singer (who often takes on the persona of a particular character in an extended monologue, and may even address the drummer as if he were a second character) and partly in the operatic versions of p'ansori developed in the twentieth century, ch'angguk and all-female yosong kukkuk, in which multiple singing actors play the various characters. These genres form the subject of Park's third chapter, which is therefore singled out for special attention below. Although there have been many dissertations and articles on p'ansori, this is only the second scholarly
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Jul 30, 2004
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