EDITING : 2017.3.20 월 16:45
The Gachon Herald
Are a frying pan, water bottle, pot, cutting board, and knife considered instruments?Korea’s first non-verbal performance, Cookin’ Nanta
Kim Na-Young  |  clara0385@naver.com
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Updated : 2016.01.11  17:30:54
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  What if kitchen tools such as a rice paddle, cutting board, and knife fall down or bump against each other? Probably, it will cause a big noise that we really don’t want to hear. But here, there is a performance that made these kitchen tools into a great instrument by combining kitchen tools with Korean traditional rhythm. It’s Cookin’ Nanta. Cookin’ Nanta is Korea’s first non-verbal performance that everyone can easily enjoy; It is a show that uses samulnori, Korean traditional rhythm, and it is a comic drama that occurs in a kitchen. Cookin’ Nanta has drawn the largest audience with explosive response since it was first performed in October, 1997. It is evaluated as the best performance that goes down in the history of Korean art. It also launched successfully in Broadway New York in February, 2004. Also, it received the Best City Program award in 2009, and was positioned as a requirement visit course for foreign travelers. Then, I wonder why so many people are enthusiastic about this performance. Let’s find out the attractiveness of Cookin’ Nanta.
  Cookin’ Nanta can be explained by four features. First, it is a non-verbal performance. This performance is composed of rhythm, beat, and situation, so it is free from language. Therefore, everyone can enjoy and sympathize. Second, it uses Korean traditional sound. It shows a fancy performance that audience can fall deeply into by using Korean traditional rhythm, samulnori. I think the way of grafting Korean traditional rhythm with modern ways of performance was a driving force of success in the global market. Third, it has dramatic factors. Unlike other non-verbal performances using continuous rhythm and beat, there is no time to get bored because it has a setting of a Kitchen and dramatic contents. Lastly, it has audience participation in the performance. We can feel the thrilling fun of Cookin’ Nanta from actors’ adding to the amusement. 
  Cookin’ Nanta starts in the kitchen, a place we are used to. An excellent cook, the unmanly head chef, a very masculine sexy guy, and a powerful sassy woman, cook hot sauce! The three attractive, characteristic chefs start their day. While they are busy preparing vegetables and organizing the kitchen, a bad-tempered manager shows up. He orders them to prepare food for a wedding by 6’o clock in the afternoon. The cooks, who had not been told about this event, are caught completely off-guard. In addition, the manager also brings his young nephew with him and demands that the cooks teach him how to cook and prepare food. Suddenly the kitchen is thrown into turmoil and the cooks become wild as they chop, beat and stir in an attempt to meet the deadline. After a great deal of action, the three chefs and the manager’s nephew become closer, causing the stage and auditorium to merge together. Spectators can be a bride and a groom in a traditional Korean wedding ceremony, or compete in pilling up dumplings, or interact with the performers. We can play the rhythm on the stage. Finally, it’s 6’ o clock. With their excellent cooperation, brilliant ideas and full performance, they finally have all the jobs done. The wedding banquet draws to a successful conclusion. To celebrate having finished their jobs, the manager and four chefs do the party. They present a moving party with hot energy and strong power, and the show closes.
  Korea’s major cultural content Cookin’ Nanta. Seung-Hwan Song, who is an actor and also made Cookin’ Nanta, said the success factor of this show is a global universality. It expresses the emotions and sense of identity of Koreans and can be shared by people worldwide. Especially, one big factor of its unexpected success lies in its being a non-verbal performance. If you are run-down by a ceaselessly repetitious daily life, I invite you to the kitchen where four attractive cooks do a great deal of action. The sound of beating will beat your mind and your stress will fly away at once!

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