Nanta Show (Myeongdong)

I got to enjoy this show on my first trip to Korea, thanks to the fact that we had booked a group tour with Chan Brothers, and you know that good tour agencies tend to include activities and food that you normally wouldn’t do or eat on your own (unless you’re loaded or really have insider knowledge).

I’ve heard a thing or two about such non-verbal musicals in Korea, and Nanta is arguably one of the most famous of such shows. It’s also the longest-running according to Wikipedia. For those who want to know what the show is about:

The musical has a simple back story of three cooks attempting to finish preparing a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff. The show involves acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation. The unifying element throughout the musical is the use of traditional Korean samul nori music, which in this case is performed with improvised instruments, such as cutting boards, water canisters and kitchen knives. The performance is almost completely non-verbal. The very few words which are spoken are mostly in English.

We watched this in the Myeongdong Nanta Theatre, and in fact had first row seats! Hence, I got a super good view of the show! Actually, it can be quite terrifying to sit so near the stage because throughout the shows they were throwing and flinging knives, food, and whatnot around, so we were a little worried that something might drop on us by accident (thankfully, nothing of that sort happened).

Nanta Myeongdong
My view of the Nanta stage

Photo-taking and video-taking are both strictly prohibited, so I can’t show you any photos or videos of the exciting performance. It’s done to protect the show, so I can totally understand. Just imagine if someone recorded the whole show and uploaded the video on Youtube – who would pay to watch the show in future, right?

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance even though there’s hardly any dialogue. The performers’ skills are seriously so good, you can tell that they really rehearsed very hard in order to get every timing, every moment perfect. I also love the fact that you can enjoy a performance that comes without dialogue: you can understand everything that’s happening even when no one is saying anything, super charming!

Now, one of the most important elements in a Nanta show is audience participation… and (un)fortunately, I was called on stage to help out with one of the show elements (if you recall, I was sitting in the front row, so I guess it was inevitable). I didn’t manage to successfully execute what they wanted me to do HAHA (ಥ_ʖಥ) but I have to say that this made the Nanta show an experience that I would never forget. It’s been 2 years since then, but I still vividly remember the scene where I was invited on stage, and got to interact with the performers.

A few other people were also called on stage to participate throughout the show, so if you’re lucky, you might get the chance as well! Don’t be shy and really take the chance to have fun – you’ll be surprised at how great an experience this can turn out to be.

I know watching such performances may not be everyone’s top priority, especially not in bustling Myeongdong where you have 10000 other activities in mind. However, I definitely recommend going fo Nanta if you can spare the time and money, because it is one of my best memories of Korea, and it could well be yours too.


DIRECTIONS

(for Myeongdong Nanta Theatre)

Address: 3F, 26 Myeongdong-gil, Jung-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea (Myeongdong Nanta Theater)

[SUBWAY]
Getting off at Euljiro 1-ga Station (5 minutes walking distance)

  • Use the stairway, leading to exit #5 and #6 of Euljiro 1-ga Station(Line 2)
  • Go straight approximately 200M.
  • The theatre is located on the 3rd floor of the building with ‘Innisfree’ cosmetic store on 1st floor.

Getting off at Myeong Dong station (10 minutes walking distance)

  • Use the exit #6 of Myeong Dong station(Line #4)
  • Go straight approximately 200m to Myeong Dong Jungang street.
  • Turn left at the Teenieweenie store and go straight 50M
  • The theatre is located on the 3rd floor of the building with ‘Innisfree’ cosmetic store on 1st floor.

For more details on the show and for booking, visit Nanta’s website.

You can also book via Trazy, at just SGD35.20!

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