Fulbright Forum – September 28, 2009

J.L. Murdoch

Archiving the Repertoire: Observations on the Capture of the Ephemeral

Hailed as a popular as well as therapeutic form of entertainment in historic Korea, the folk masked dance-drama of Talchum was nearly lost during the Japanese occupation in the first half of the twentieth century. Since the early 1960s, though, practitioners and scholars have revived thirteen regional practices that are now preserved with the aide of government funds and programming. While much has been written and performed in Korean, very little has been translated into other languages. Further, attempting to communicate textually about a primarily embodied art form creates barriers to the transmission of information and to the accessibility of the form by those both within and without the cultural milieu of that art form. Throughout her year of primary research the presenter has attempted to engage physically with Talchum in an effort to overcome some of these barriers. This presentation will utilize Diana Taylor’s rendering of the “scenario” (from Taylor’s book, The Archive and The Repertoire) along with the support of video and still images in order to share some of her resulting observations.


J.L. Murdoch is a Fulbright Junior Researcher conducting research on the folk masked dance-drama form of Talchum. During this year she has studied with Prof. Choi, Chang-Ju in Bongsan Talchum; Suk, Jong Kwan in Yangju Talchum; Shin, Jun Ha in Hahoe Byulshin Gut; and Heo Chang Yeol in Gosan Ogwangdae, as well as traveled extensively to observe and document Talchum performances throughout the country. She is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Theatre and Film at Bowling Green State University where she is under the guidance of Dr. Scott Magelssen and her broader research includes non-western forms of theatre, theatre for community, theatre for social change, embodied learning, and pedagogy. She has taught and/or presented in the Philippines, South Africa, South Korea, Jamaica, Australia, and the United States.

Archiving the Repertoire: Observations on the Capture of the Ephemeral