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12

MONDAY

The Kosong Okwangdae (or Five Clowns Play) is a distinctive drama that emerged from the Korean agricultural village of Kosong, in the southern region of the country. The “five clowns” represent the cardinal directions (east, west, north, south, and center), but a series of loosely intertwined stories also play out the tensions between moral polarities: trust and betrayal, piety and lust, gluttony and discipline. Each parable is enacted through music, exaggerated movements, and elaborate costumes, with most of the characters meeting unfortunate (if sometimes darkly amusing) ends—a leper tries to beat a drum, only to find himself hampered by a lack of fingers. Since 1964, when the government named the play Korea’s 7th National Intangible Property, the study of the Kosong Okwangdae has become a highly respected profession, and today there are just 30 officially designated performers of the piece. Tonight, some of them will be on stage with the troupe named for what it does best at 7:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theater. $15. (202) 467-4600. (Shauna Miller)