Korea’s Yegam Theatre Company is returning to the OzAsia Festival this year with its madcap comic martial arts show Extreme Jump! Cast member No Sung Yul reveals what’s in store – including his special “snupuswipe” move.
What can you tell us about Extreme Jump?
Jump is a performance combining martial arts, acrobatics, gymnastics and comedy. You will see dynamic physical movements like you have seen on TV or in movies, but without computer graphics or wires. Moreover, it is a comedy for people of all ages to enjoy.
The story of Jump is set in an average Korean home, but all family members are championship-level experts in martial arts. One day two burglars break into the home in the middle of night – you will find out what happens next when you come and see the show.
How has the show evolved since it began in 2003?
The production has been developing in many ways, such as through the music, choreography, acting, physical skills and so on. It is getting more active and extreme.
In the beginning, we brought some overseas directors to Korea because we wanted the show to be understood by audiences all over the world. Since then, our creatives have continued to make changes, little by little, to make the show better. Of course, we made some mistakes, but we believe all the experience has led to a more exciting show.
You play the “son-in-law”. Can you please describe your character and tell us about your part in the show?
Son-in-law is naïve and timid, but sometimes he is masculine. Actually, he has a secret (you can find out what the secret is when you see the show). He is also a romantic and fresh guy – popular with female audiences! My son-in-law is skilled in extreme martial arts. I am practising a lot every day.
In the show, there are two couples: father and mother versus daughter and son-in-law. The difference between these two couples is one of the fun aspects of the show.
How long have you practised martial arts? What is your strongest move?
About 12 years ago, I started Hap-Ki-Do, one of the Korean traditional martial arts. Later, I saw a video of an Australian martial arts team. It was interesting, so I practised by myself watching the video. Then I became a member of a martial arts team and I have been training more than 10 years with the team. My strongest move is “full turn snupuswipe”: kick in the air while turning around and then one more turn around. I showed off this move in an extreme martial arts contest one month ago.
What kind of training do you do?
I do mostly physical training. This training strengthens muscular power and many actors do it to prevent injury. Jump requires a high output of physical energy, so I also do fitness training like jogging or mountain climbing two or three times per week.
Jump has toured all around the world. How have different cultures reacted to the show?
Jump has no language barrier and a comic story which everyone can enjoy, so people abroad have mostly responded well. In Western culture, they are interested in Oriental martial arts, and in Asian culture, they like comedy, because many Asian countries have their own unique martial arts. However, extreme martial arts is the most popular in Korea, so even in China, which has many kung fu masters and acrobats, they admire the extreme martial arts seen during the show. In particular, they love “high back flipping in the air”. What is appreciated by both Western and Asian cultures is that a performer can do acting, martial arts and acrobatics.
This will be the second time Jump has visited Adelaide (it was here for the 2010 OzAsia Festival) and we are excited. I didn’t perform in Adelaide in 2010, but I heard that after the cast returned, one gentleman posted a letter to our company saying thanks for a great show the likes of which he had never seen before. His nice letter touched and pleased all the performers and company members.
I believe Adelaide has a rich culture in the performing arts with great venues and audiences, so I am really keened to have a chance to perform there. I am so happy to be able to go to the Adelaide finally.
Extreme Jump, by Yegam Theatre Company, will be performed in the Festival Theatre on September 28-29.
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