Theatre Momzit, Empty Hands

Review in Issue 18-2 | Summer 2006

Theatre and ritual lie very close together, and in this performance the theatricality of ritual was used to its full extent. In five parts, with two performers and four musicians, it unfolds to a climax of stillness and simplicity in the final piece from which the whole performance takes its name, Empty Hands. The programme describes the show exactly (a rare thing in a programme): ‘a visual theatre performance based on Korean ritual ceremonies and shamanism accompanied by Korean traditional percussion music’. Yet at the same time it is more the magical and elementary beginning, of coloured, shifting body-created shadows on held sheets of paper, the Shaman Sword’s surprising transformations of dancing man to dancing spirit, followed by the visual and aural high point in Incense. Here, the interplay of puppetry, acting and dance was visionary and full of possibilities for further developments. An innovative element, something I haven’t seen before, was the fire puppetry, where beings seemed to appear and disappear through the playing of the moving incense sticks. Finally a Zen ending, a visual message, but simply presented with no emotional baggage: ‘We come into the world with empty hands and leave it with empty hands, yet we always try to hold on. Why can’t we remain with empty hands?’ Highly recommendable!

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 2006

This article in the magazine

Issue 18-2
p. 27