Gangneung Gwanno Mask Performance(江陵官奴假面劇)
Gangneung Gwanno Gamyeongeuk (Kor. 강릉관노가면극, Chin. 江陵官奴假面劇) refers to the mask performance held during the Dano Festival (Kor. 단오제, Chin. 端午祭, the fifth of the fifth lunar month) in the Gangneung area. It is the only traditional theatrical performance in today’s Korea in which masked players present a story without words using only dance and body movements. Another important characteristic of this play is that, unlike other mask performances, it is not a satire on immoral and corrupt aristocrats. Rather, the play focuses on worshiping the village guardian deities on the occasion of the Dano festival. As reflected in the name of the play, the main actors in it were gwanno (Kor. 관노, Chin. 官奴), or government slaves.
Gangneung Gwanno Gamyeongeuk was originally performed at village tutelary shrines, but today it takes place on a specially built stage on a bank of the Namdae Stream. The play features six characters: Yangban Gwangdae (Kor. 양반광대, lit. Aristocrat Clown), Somae Gaksi (Kor. 소매각시, Lady Little Shaman), two Jangja Mari (Kor. 장자마리, Bag Wearer), and two Sisi Ttakttagi (Kor. 시시딱딱이, Meddler). The play is composed of five episodes and the story focuses on love between the two main characters, Aristocrat Clown and Lady Little Shaman. Their love faces a challenge when the two meddlers intervene and trick the man into becoming skeptical about the woman’s fidelity. The drama ends happily, however, after Lady Little Shaman proves her innocence by attempting to commit suicide.