Just Bananas About: Week of 8/15/11

Another Monday, another Bananas post.  Here’s hoping this post will liven spirits as we start off another work week (boo, work).

Looks like this is going to be another double post as one of the items takes place in NYC again.  But let’s start with 1박2일 (1 Night 2 Days aka 1N2D).  It was sad to hear the news of Kang Ho Dong and Na Young Seok PD last week.  Nothing has been finalized yet but the thought of the end of this great program is bittersweet for me.  For those that are unfamiliar with 1N2D, it’s basically a variety show where the hosts take 1 Night and 2 Days to travel to different places around Korea.  You get to see the beautiful Korean landscape, the food, the culture and the people living there.  I don’t think it’s fair just calling it a variety show as it is more like a travel show with funny hosts who play games.

Plain White T’s – 1, 2, 3, 4

https://chunkeemonkeeato.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/05-1-2-3-4.mp3%20

Last night, I was watching the latest episode where all the members separated to visit various waterfalls in Korea.  The loneliness was palpable but even from a distance these boys always manage to keep their brothers in their hearts.  With the prize of an overseas trip at stake, each member had to write a letter about 1N2D and send it in to the popular Yoo Young Seok Radio Program.  The radio program would then pick the best letter.  The differences in styles are apparent as they each wrote their letter but ultimately it was Seung Gi’s heartwarming letter that was picked.

He said:
“Hello.  This is 1N2D’s Lee Seung Gi.  Today we are filming for 1N2D.  This morning we definitely started in Yeoido (location of KBS studios) but I opened my eyes and suddenly we were in Jejudo and now I’m on top of mountain in Kangwondo by the East Sea.  A funny thing happened today.  Kang Ho Dong, Lee Su Geun and Kim Jong Min, all started out as one team, even boasting about their loyalty to one another, but it seems Ho Dong hyung and Jong Min hyung betrayed Su Geun hyung along the way.  Later, Ho Dong hyung must have felt guilty about the situation because he kept saying, ‘In variety shows, you are not doing your job as an entertainer if you are honest and nice all the time.’  But as I was listening to him, my heart felt a little sad.  The hyungs always sacrifice the nice guy image for the sake of providing an entertaining variety show thereby making younger guys like me look good.  I always try to do my best, but even when I do something well my hyungs are always next to me cheering me on.  ‘Seung Gi, you worked hard, you’re the best.’  I think these words, with our age differences, warm my heart.  Even if I work earnestly, my hyungs sacrifice their image for the program with the lying and the backstabbing so that I can stand out a bit more.  I think this unconditional love that I receive from fans are because of those hyungs.  So through this broadcast I wanted to share this story and say how thankful I am to be working with them over the last 5 years and how lucky I am to have met them.  I don’t know if it will be in the near future or far into the future but I hope to reciprocate the love my hyungs have given me to other hardworking, young stars.  I want to be the match that lights their candle so that they could shine.  I still have a long way to go before I’m like them but I ask for their continued love and support.  Thank you.”

I cried at this inspiring letter.  Each member carries their weight on this show as the charming one, scary one, savvy one, or even the one that’s made fun of.

Sure, the members have changed over the years but the bromance is always there.  I don’t think the show can continue without Na PD or Kang Ho Dong but 5 years is a long time.  If they do decide to go their separate ways, at least we were entertained and they left on a high note.

____________________________________________________________

From brotherly camaraderie to a peek into a bleak and lonely existence, I just saw Sleep No More this past Saturday at the McKittrick Hotel.  A little history… The McKittrick Hotel was completed in 1939 but it never opened up to the public and was left abandoned until now.   Now the Punchdrunk Theatre Company is using the hotel for this interactive play.  The play has been extended from its original end date because an overwhelming positive response of it being sold out EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.  Looks like they’ll continue until the end of September.

The play is a 1930 film noir adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  You walk from room to room and have the opportunity to see, touch and experience this world.  You are given a mask and invited to be a distant observer of the scenes, therefore your presence does not affect the outcome of the play.  I’d say that this experience was like The Shining meets Eyes Wide Shut meets Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.  Especially that last one, since we’re talking about Macbeth here.

As I entered this trippy world, I almost felt like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.  “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” kept going through my head as the host greeted me and welcomed me to the Manderley Bar.  Then through a lottery, they separated our group and informed us that we didn’t need to go with anyone in order to navigate this strange dimension.  We put on our masks and meandered through a labyrinth of rooms.  The rooms and corridors were elaborately set so that you feel like you were in someone’s home looking through their personal items or walking down a cobblestone street past numerous shops.  You may end up seeing the same room twice or unable to see everything.  An actor can come in and do their scene and suddenly they’re dashing off and you’re chasing them through the hotel corridors.  The music score accompanying your journey is a mixed bag of different soundtracks and most notably I heard the Bernard Herrmann score to Psycho and Vertigo.  Yeah, the experience is all encompassing with sights, sounds, touch and smells.  I have to admit that I didn’t get a chance to see everything or I saw something more than once.  The hotel is like a maze and sometimes it’s hard to get your bearings.  Words cannot accurately express this experience but it’s something I recommend as an alternative perspective on what theater can offer.

If you decide to go, here are some tips.  Try not to bring a bag if you can.  If you can’t, check your bag.  No talking in the hotel.  Wear contact lenses because you’re wearing a mask all night.  Wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking and sometimes some running.  You could spend 2 hours in this thing or 5 hours.  It’s up to you.  I’d recommend doing a latter show and seeing the actors finish up the evening in the ballroom.  And just enjoy this rare experience.

For more information, tickets and other reviews go to their website at: http://sleepnomorenyc.com/index.htm.

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