Mind-Goblin

Thisis a solo show where the Korean dancer and choreographer Lee Kyung-eun, inspired by the shamanic gut or rite to expel ‘goblins’ or evil spirits, aims to turn this around and suggest that acceptance of all sides of our psyche is better, thus balancing yin and yang. Unfortunately Mind-Goblin is a disappointing show which does not work at any level.

Towards the end, a viscous black liquid slowly leaches out of her mouth; it’s a startling visual image but sadly not enough to save this show.

Mind-Goblin, a translation of the Korean Dokkaebi (spirits or goblins who are grotesque but humourous), does not really work in English since we never use such an expression. ‘Devils’ might be better? No doubt, the supernatural explanation for mental problems reflects Korean beliefs but one would expect, in the 21st century, a deeper psychoanalytical exploration too. Self-doubts, angst and all the psychological traumas are sadly lacking in choreography that is oversimplified and inexpressive. At the most basic level, whilst playing both possessed and exorcist, it is often unclear which Lee is at any one time.

Lee has an androgynous appearance with her breasts bound flat and it is to be lauded that she is attempting to challenge the Korean perception of what a female should be. She has a strong physique and athletic ability, particularly notable when she undertakes yogic positions and a head-stand, but much more is needed in terms of an artistic production.

The lighting is poor, either ineffectively dim, or bright for no obvious reason. The backdrop screen is sometimes struck by the dancer causing it to wobble, but it is unclear if this is an accident or not until the end when ripples spread across. Towards the end, a viscous black liquid slowly leaches out of her mouth; it’s a startling visual image but sadly not enough to save this show.

Reviews by Stephanie Green

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Performances

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The Blurb

Identifying the foolish spirit of this confusing world as a mind goblin, Lee Kyung-eun spins out a shamanistic ritual that repels evil, harmful spirits. This Korean contemporary dance artist opens a portal to the goblins of her mind and body. She confronts and eventually befriends the other me inside, as in old folk tales, where people met goblins and danced with them all night. She comes to understand herself – her mind and body – as a universe unto itself. Ultimately, she recognises the beauty and diversity coexisting within her, and within all of us.

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