An Interview with Doodle Pop
South Korea’s brilliant Doodle Pop are in Edinburgh
Hello first things first, where are you both from & where are you at, geographically speaking?
Lee Hee-ae: BRUSH Theatre is based in Republic of Korea. To be more specific, our studio is located in Seoul. Even though Seoul is notorious for its business and hecticness, our studio is near by a beautiful forest named after our city. We are all in Seoul now, even though we all come from different regions of Korea. Essentially, we are all contributors for making Seoul the most densely populated city in the World!
Can you tell us about Brush Theatre & your role?
Lee Hee-ae: BRUSH Theatre presents live performances internationally. We are working passionately on ‘Theatre for Young Audiences’. Our main purpose is inspiring young audiences to live their daily life with art and offering quality performances. They have the right to enjoy performances no matter what their socio-economic and geometric backgrounds are. Last year, we brought two shows to the Fringe. The Little Musician was selected as “Three of the Best Shows for Children” by THE SCOTSMAN and Woogie Boogie was selected as “The Best Shows at the Edinburgh Festival 2018” by The Guardian. Woogie Boogie also became a Winner of Asian Arts Award Best Comedy 2018.
Regarding my role, I’m one of two doodlers in Doodle POP. I’m the taller, stronger, and smarter one. My hair style is also much better, ha!
Hello Seunguen, can you tell me where, when & how did you guys get together?
Seungeun Lee: We all met through BRUSH Theatre. It is a theater company that only started in 2015 but was already known for creating really good shows for a young audience. We all joined this company for different reasons. Some are interested in theater for young people. Some are interested in the creative side, and how the company creates a piece. We create our productions by encouraging everyone to participate and share the ideas throughout the whole process instead of depending on all ideas coming from one person. Some are also intrigued by the way this company is being managed. We meet up every morning and then go our own ways in the evening. We work together, cook together and eat together. We are not a family, but it’s different than just being friends and very far from just co-workers – we all have a strong bond. It’s very strange, ‘Brushistic’ relationship.
Last year you performed The Happy Dragon in Turkmenistan, how did you get that gig & how was the experience?
Seungeun Lee: It was one of the best audiences and one of the biggest applauses that we’ve ever had. The Happy Dragon is based on a story written by a Turkemenistan writer. It is about a dragon who spits flowers instead of fire. Even though the young audience was from Turkmenistan and we are from Korea (which are very different cultural backgrounds), we found that a story of a young dragon who brought all the colors of flowers to a desert of Turkmenistan brought us all together.
Doodle Pop is advertised as a Kid’s show, but will adults enjoy the show?
Seungeun Lee: Even though we owe the success of these magical moments of Doodle POP to technology, the show basically comes from creators’ personal desire to create stories, rather than an interest in technology. The most important inspiration for our show were memories from our childhood. We were the kind of kids who had fun while scribbling on a small sketchbook and even on a wall! We remembered how those blank spaces inspired us, and how exciting it was to fill every space with anything we could think of. We wanted to bring back those moments, and that feeling. We didn‘t have to be a master of anything in order to scribble. There is no right or wrong, no good or bad way to doodle. There wasn’t any story to follow, and we didn’t have a specific message to deliver – as children, we always made up our own stories.
You’re bringing a new show to this year’s Edinburgh Fringe; can you tell us more?
Lee Hee-ae: Doodle POP is a multimedia drawing show where doodles come alive by combining hand drawing and projection. It is about two friends, armed with black ink markers, going on their first adventure to the sea with their lovely turtle. As they draw and erase on the big whiteboard, all the inky mysterious sea creatures that appear on and around the board, play pranks on our mischievous duo whilst they draw.
What South Korean folk motifs do you include in Doodle Pop?
Seungeun Lee: Rather than depending on a linear storyline or some characteristics of certain cultural background, Doodle POP is purely driven by the impulse to draw and erase. The flow is quite erratic so no audience can expect what comes next. During the whole procedure, the audience can keep making guesses whilst being captivated at what unfolds. Audiences that we have met are immersed in the whole erratic flow Doodle POP unfolds. (No matter where they are from or what they do). Every capricious stroke metamorphosis into an unexpected feature and children actively respond to it. Young audiences laugh, they yell and they try so hard to guess what comes next. (Actually, their parents do exactly the same thing as well…). Every wild guess is welcomed because the show itself is from creators’ untamed thought.
What is the biggest obstacle you overcame while putting Doodle Pop together?
Lee Hee-ae: Actually, it was the most basic thing that was the biggest obstacle – finding thick nibs for our pens, finding the right material for a big whiteboard wall, and finding a way to erase off enormous amount of ink at once. It was also the most interesting part that required many experiments and our creativity.
Last year you brought Woogie Boogie to the Edinburgh Fringe to widespread acclaim – why do you think the show was so well received?
Seungeun Lee: I think it is because Woogie Boogie brought out the inner child of our audience! Like all of our repertoire, Woogie Boogie encouraged the audience to be actively engaged to the show. The interaction between our performers and audience of last year’s Fringe created a very special atmosphere. During the performance, everyone shared the imaginative energy and harmless laughter of rejoicing, and in turn, experience a shared friendliness from each other. It is an honor, and the biggest pleasure, for creators to see that our own imaginary world means something to our young audience and hopefully even inspires them.
You’ve got 20 seconds to sell the Doodle Pop to somebody in the street…
Lee Hee-ae: Hello, do you love to Doodle? Then come to see our show! Even if you don’t like doodling, come and see our show because you will end up loving it after seeing Doodle POP. Doodling can take us anywhere we want and can bring us everything we want. If you want to see doodles come alive, then be sure to come along! This show is full of fantastic ideas and adorable fantasies.
Assembly George Square Studios
Aug 20-25 (10:50)