South Korea

Instant celebrity at the Nanta Theater

My family is in Korea! My mom and brother flew in to Seoul on Friday afternoon and are staying for nine days.

Saturday’s weather forecast called for rain, and we woke up to some drizzles. I’d wanted to go see Nanta, which is a play, and decided it would be the perfect day to sit inside for two hours. Unfortunately for me, tickets are no longer available online the day of the performance, and since the 30 percent off deal going on was only available online, this meant I had to pay significantly more than if I had bought the tickets in advance. I mulled this over for a few minutes, but I felt antsy about getting something planned for Saturday and decided to not worry about the deal we were missing out on. I asked the hotel concierge to help me reserve the tickets.

We first headed to Insadong, which is an area of Seoul with a lot of traditional restaurants and tea shops. Mom got to try her first Korean food — bibimbap — and we all got some tasty snacks and made a few purchases.

Hanging out in the park.

Hanging out in the park.

Seeing traditional candy being made. The "strings" are made from hard honey that is pulled. It gets stuffed with seven types of nuts.

Seeing traditional candy being made. The “strings” are made from hard honey that is pulled. It gets stuffed with seven types of nuts.

Sampling green tea.

Sampling green tea.

Next we headed to the Nanta theater in Myeongdong. The theater was pretty intimate, which made for a very fun show. In the play there are three chefs who must cater a wedding meal with the help of their boss’s nephew in less than two hours. The performance is mostly non-verbal, but it integrates comedy and traditional Korean beats. It was really funny and had people of all ages laughing.

Nanta!

Nanta!

After the Nanta performance. We were in row H.

After the Nanta performance. We were in row H.

Early on in the performance, the chefs cannot agree on whether a soup is ready. Since they are tied, they need a third party to taste the soup. They came out into the audience to bring two people up on stage. Now, I thought there was a chance that someone from our group could be picked for three reasons: our seats were called VIP seats, we were seated at the end of a row, and we are obviously foreigners.

But when the actress scanned the crowd and passed our row, I let out a groan that our shot was gone. Beside me, Matt, Anthony and Mom breathed sighs of relief that they wouldn’t be chosen.

And then, it happened. The actress finished her survey of the theater and ran back toward our row. She grabbed Anthony to come on stage and join the show. He was dressed in a fancy shirt and hat and given a bowl of soup to taste. A young Asian woman was also brought up to the stage, and we quickly surmised that she and Anthony were the bride and groom for whom the meal was being prepared.

As Anthony became part of the show, I laughed more loudly than usual and enjoyed the onstage antics — especially when he got scolded and hit on the head with a stick by the head chef. Unfortunately, the audience is not allowed to take photos in the theater, so I didn’t get any. However, at the end of the show, a gigantic picture appeared on the screen behind the stage. “Oh that must be the bride and groom,” I whispered to my mom. But then it registered, as the guffaws of laughter erupted around me. It was a picture of Anthony and the other audience member, now husband and wife.

Anthony on stage! He's giving the soup the thumbs up. We wonder if anyone has ever given a thumbs down?

Anthony on stage! He’s giving the soup the thumbs up. We wonder if anyone has ever given a thumbs down?

After the show, Anthony was given a small photo of himself on stage. We talked about the show and I thought about how we almost hadn’t come since we weren’t going to get the ticket discount. I’m so happy we came anyways, because the performance was well worth the price. And Anthony getting chosen to go on stage? Priceless.

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3 thoughts on “Instant celebrity at the Nanta Theater

  1. This is great! I give you credit for overcoming the potential ‘savings’…I too am sometimes paralyzed by not being able to take advantage of a ‘deal’. You did good! How memorable!!!!

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