It created quite the buzz when a full fledged NANTA India Tour hosted by Korea Foundation – covering 5 cities was announced.
The non verbal musical – comedy show that pans around a story from the kitchen has made a mark worldwide. From being the first Asian musical to open its own off – Broadway theatre (Minetta Lane theatre) to again being the first Asian musical to be staged Broadway NYC (New Victory Theatre)! There are many unique elements about the performance what caught my eye was the characters, so well thought, quirky and yet relatable. Without uttering one word they WILL leave you speechless!
During their Chennai stop on 2nd Nov, which was hosted by the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Chennai, with the help of Korea Foundation and Mr. Sanjay Ramjhi the admin of Chennai Korean Fanbase we got to exclusively interview the NANTA Team:
KHigh: We would first like to know the meaning behind the name “Nanta”?
NANTA: Nanta in Korean has a similar meaning as Pummelling with full strength (Like you beat it with full swing) Similar to the music style and beats of Samulnori but only difference is with the use of Kitchen utensils
KHigh: Please tell us a little more about how this group came into being and such an unique concept of non vocal performance found?
NANTA: In order to spread the unique culture of Korea in a single show across the World (featuring rhythm , music, cuisine, wedding ceremony, etc.) NANTA was made as a nonverbal performance where anyone could understand and learn about the culture without any need of dialogues.
KHigh: Who created the story-line for “Nanta” performance? Does it change from time to time?
NANTA: It was created back in 1997 by the famous actor and Director Chong-yesul and Director Song Seung Hwan who also worked on the PyeongChang Winter Olympic opening and closing ceremonies.
The basic story does not change, but it is constantly evolving with the production that suits the trend.
KHigh: You have performed at several prestigious stages, which stage/show/moment was like a dream come true?
NANTA: The most memorable time/ show was the performance of the Broadway performance as that was always the goal since the day Nanta premiere.
KHigh: Finally you are performing in India, what pulled you towards India for a tour? You have successfully completed 3 shows here already, how would you define your experience so far?
NANTA: We have been trying to advance to Indian performance from the past, but it was not easy. However, I am very pleased that KF’s efforts and enthusiasm have given me the opportunity of good cause.
Vijayawada, Hyderabad and Chennai performances have all had a much better success than we expected and I really appreciate the audience in India.
KHigh: How closely do you relate to your characters on stage in personal life? For example: the mischief maker “nephew” how mischievous are you in real life?
NANTA: Each actor is different. However, I think that each person’s character makes his / her own character on the stage, so it is actually part of his / her life based on the characters on the stage.
KHigh: You have gone on multiple tours together, please share some stories from the green room?
NANTA: Green Room is a place where actors prepare for the final performance just before the start of the performance, which is very important for the actors.
Once the theatre condition was not good, the performance team was very nervous, so we had to change to mood we secretly hid lots of snacks and other goodies in their green room (hidden) to surprise them . I remember that It really relaxed them a lot and they gave a very successful performance.
KHigh: Any words for your team?
NANTA: Our White team (There are 8 different NANTA teams, every show has different actors) is the most explosive energy of the eight total NANTA team. It’s going to turn India over on this tour!
KHigh: Your talent as percussionists and theatricality is unparalleled, but do you have any other hidden talents? If yes please share with us.
NANTA Artist – Na Jae-seok: I enjoy boxing that matches well with character called sexy guy, although it is hard to say for long term. I will show you my sexy guy side in Delhi and Mumbai!
KHigh: Any tips for budding artists?
NANTA Artist – Hwang Joo-il: There are not many people who have a job as a job while at the same time enjoying it in the world. A show like Nanta you as an artist have to enjoy doing what you like to do and having that passion you can enjoy what do you while you perform!
KHigh: Have you seen any Indian theater/arts or movies? If yes which is your favorite?
NANTA Artist -Ko Chang-hwan: My favourite Indian Movies are Slumdog Millionaire, Three Idiots, Gajani & My name is Khan. I like and enjoy many Indian movies. Everyone is so good I can not pick one!
KHigh: Have you got the chance to explore Indian culture, like food/attire etc? If yes which ones are your favorite?
NANTA Artist – Naulin: Actually I was a bit worried about the India tour a lot because food from other countries do not fit suit me well. But In India especially the chicken curry and butter naan were really delicious!
KHigh: Lastly, what are your future goals as a group together, do you perhaps have any secret projects in the coming?
NANTA: The NANTA team’s goal is to perform for all audiences in all countries across the world. Nanta will continue to focus until this goal is achieved.
Highlights of the Chennai show, 2nd Nov (cr: Sanjay Ramjhi)