Saturday, February 25, 2006

pictures from a fantastic Smoo term

One of my favorite Intensive English Level 2 students, Ji-soo, emailed me a mess of pictures from both the bazaar (in early February; see this post) and from the Thursday end-of-term event.

Pics plus explanations follow. Captions will be beneath the pictures they explain.

Here I am with Eun-gyeong, Ji-soo, and Sae-ra. It was cold that day, and we were holding the bazaar on the breezy first floor of Smoo's Social Education Building, so a lot of people were wearing coats.

Soon-shil, Min-seon, Mi-yeong, and Sae-ra making bbop-gi, a close cousin of the traditional yeot candy.

Yeong-hui, Mi-yeong, Soon-shil, Seon-hyae, Min-seon, and Eun-gyeong, all at our table, either cooking bbop-gi or selling used items. See the purple money box?

Penelope (a.k.a. Ji-eun) and Yeong-hui, over at some other group's table, playing Jenga. Or at least pretending to play.

The resident ogre, coatless thanks to a comfortable layer of blubber that can protect it from Arctic temperatures.

Sae-ra takes the ogre's place and proves she's got quite a bit of artistic talent. If I recall correctly, that's a picture of Ji-soo.

The taekwondo team that showed off its funky, made-to-order dance routine. The team leader, who you'll recall offered to give the girls the phone numbers of the guys they liked, is pictured here-- back row, second from the right.

And now: pics from the two skits we performed!

Ji-soo looking pretty in her hanbok, giving the standard Korean "V" sign. In the "Tiger and Dried Persimmon" skit, she plays the role of the mother trying to shush her crying baby. See the next pic for more.

"Do you want the tiger to get you?" the mother asks her bawling (blond!) child. The tiger, unbeknownst to the mother, is outside the window. It hears this question and feels great pride at being feared. But the baby keeps on crying, which infuriates the proud tiger. The tiger readies itself to strike, when suddenly--

"Oh, here's a dried persimmon!" the mother chirps. The baby stops crying immediately. The tiger, having no idea what a dried persimmon is, assumes it must be a truly fearsome creature: the baby had no respect for the tiger, but immediate respect for the awful, horrifying persimmon. (Little did the tiger know that the baby had gone silent simply because it was chewing happily on the dried persimmon.)

A thief, looking for a nice, fat ox to steal, sneaks over to where the tiger is prowling. Because it's dark, the thief can't see what he's capturing. Instead of roping the ox, he ropes the tiger. The tiger freaks, convinced he's being attacked by the dried persimmon.

The thief is played by Hyeon-jeong. The ox (I love that mask) is played by Ji-eun.

Soon-shil, in her early 40s and married, was one of four narrators for this skit. Since we had nine people who needed roles, and no one wanted to say too many lines, having four narrators seemed the best solution. Soon-shil was a great student this semester. She got an award for perfect attendance. She also got an "A" in my class. I'll remember her fondly because, the evening before I had that huge pasta party, she drove a few of us around Seoul, moving from Lotte Mart by Seoul Station to Hannam Market past Itaewon, then back to Smoo campus to drop me and my groceries off.

Back to the story, then! The tiger has shaken off the thief and run into the forest, ecstatic about having gotten away. The thief, equally glad to be alive, has taken refuge inside a hollow tree. The tiger celebrates not being killed by the dried persimmon, but his frolic is interrupted by a rabbit, who asks the tiger what all the noise is about. The tiger informs the rabbit that he has just survived an encounter with the most horrible creature in the world-- a dried persimmon!

The rabbit is doubtful and vows to find the persimmon. The tiger warns the rabbit that it'll be killed by the creature, but the rabbit is confident that its fast legs can save it.

The rabbit finds the thief, who is still hiding in a tree. The rabbit immediately realizes that he, the thief, is the cause of the tiger's travails. The rabbit sticks his butt in the hole of the hollow tree to keep the thief from escaping. He then calls out to the tiger and says, "I found your dried persimmon! Come on over-- it won't hurt you!" At the same moment, the starving thief, intent on eating the rabbit for a meal, grabs the rabbit's tail and yanks. The rabbit lets out a piercing scream; the tiger freaks out again and dashes off; the thief screams in partial triumph because he's come away with the rabbit's large tail. "And that's why rabbits have short, stubby tails," says our narrator. The end!

We were lucky to be able to change costumes and scenery as quickly as we did. Just in time for... "What to Do with a Dead Kevin."

Seon-ju, who played the rabbit in the previous skit, is the student who kills me in this skit. It's a bit blurred in the photo, but you can see that Seon-ju's arm is really moving. She did indeed stick my bloated, padded "stomach" good: tomato juice dribbled out, and the blood bag got a boost from my pushing hand. Juice ran down my shirt and into my crotch. I spent the time on stage looking as though I'd pissed myself.

In this picture, I've been stabbed, I'm already dead, and the students have made their first attempt at trying to conceal the murder. They've stuck sunglasses on me, and plopped a hat on top of the knife. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but in reality, the hat's material was so soft that the knife handle's shape was easily discernible (actually, you can see that the hat is tented). That was supposed to be part of the comedy. Because I was "dead," I couldn't see any of the action following my death. I now see that some students were having a bit of trouble remaining serious! Hrrrmmmm.

This is the moment after the students have stuffed cake into my mouth. As you can see, it was a messy job. To me, it looks as though someone stabbed me, then I died, then I voided in my pants, and then some prick shat in my mouth for good measure. My eyes were closed to help me act out the death, but I could hear howls of laughter as the cake was stuffed into my mouth.

In this pic, the dead Kevin is pretty much alone. Just sitting. You can see a slice of Eun-gyeong in the background, and it looks as though she, too, is stifling laughter. I sympathize: I was deathly afraid of suddenly cracking up while my mouth was full of cake.

I stayed in the above posture as the cast took its bows, then suddenly "woke up" and voilĂ -- here we are. Damn, that was a fun skit to do.

[UPDATE AND CORRECTION: the above pic doesn't show the tail end of the skit. As you can see, two students are hiding behind my corpse. They're the ones who will operate my arms and jaw, as well as provide my voice in the attempt to fool Z.

When the skit ended, however, I was essentially in the position you see above.]

All that's left now, Dear Reader, is the parade of "aftermath" photos. Here they are:

The nine people in my class. Standing, left to right: Yeong-hui, Ji-soo, Hyeon-jeong, Soon-shil, Seon-ju, and Seon-hyae. Seated, left to right: Ji-eun, Eun-jeong, and Sae-ra.

Kevin with his class/cast. The blurring of the photo is evidence of the screaming aura of evil I project.

Eun-jeong and me. Eun-jeong wrote a nice, huge "I LOVE KEVIN" on the chalk board.

A large Kevin and a tiny Ji-soo. Ji-soo's going to be teaching Korean to foreigners on Smoo campus. Alas, she won't be paid for the work: it's a volunteer project.

Hyeon-jeong and me. This girl is a nut, as well as another of my favorite students. Loud, expressive, says what's on her mind, and speaks English pretty well-- better than all her classmates.

Well... that's it, folks. Unless other students send me photos, I've got nothing more up my sleeve. Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of life on Smoo campus. I'm off to bed.



Joel said...

I now see the difference between the tiger and myself. Whenever Korean parents tell their children to stop misbehaving or the foreigner will eat them (and it's happened more than once) I've taken offense. Maybe I should be more like the tiger.

Jelly said...

"To me, it looks as though someone stabbed me, then I died, then I voided in my pants, and then some prick shat in my mouth for good measure."

This totally cracked me up, and I needed a good laugh. Thanks, man!

Congratulations on what sounds to be a very successful performance!

Joel's comment on eating the bad children is funny too! No wonder some children start freaking out when they see me! *CHOMP!

Anonymous said...

Ah, I was hoping you were going to post the story of the Tiger and the Dried Persimmon. I was expecting it in the initial post on the plays, but I'm glad to see that you got to it here.

Great shots. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun.