Source: Courtesy of Yohangza Theatre Company
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
The production toured to the Barbican in London in 2006, and was invited back to London in May 2012 at the London Globe as part of the World Shakespeare Festival.
With a small but versatile cast (many of whom play several roles), the adaptation focuses on the key plots of the two pairs of lovers and the battle between the fairy king and queen, with a twist. Their kinetic energy is remarkable. Bottom is called Ajumi, a superstitious elderly woman gathering herbs in the mountains. The adaptation draws on traditional Korean folklore to portray the world of the fairies (dokkaebi). Puck is portrayed as twins played by two talented actors in one robe.
– Description written by Alex Huang.
Seoul, South Korea
Director YANG Jung-ung
Korean script by YANG Jung-ung
English translation by Alyssa Kim (which was used on subtitles while the production went on tour)
LEE Kangsun was commissioned by the Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A) to translate the stage directions in the Korean script into English, these stage directions being missing from the company’s English subtitles (by Alyssa KIM).
Yohangza means travelers
Premiered in 2002
Cities: Miryang, Seoul, Busan, Uijeongbu, Namyangju, Gwacheon, Suwon, Jeonju, Tokyo, Poznan, Gdańsk, Manizales, Bogota, Quito, Habana, Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Cardiff, San Salvador, Neuss, Parramatta (Sydney), Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, Taoyuan, Singapore, Chennai, Brussels, Dijon
Review in Australian Stage Online about 2010 tour.
Review in London Korean Links about the performance in the 2012 Globe to Globe Festival.
Note: This is the full video
Note: Byeok and Hang are planning to escape in order to avoid a marriage between Byeok and Loo. Byeok tells Ik about their plan.
(Act 1, Scene 1: 128-251)
Note: Gabbi talks about his plan for the night to seek out mortal women, and Dot expresses her jealousy. She calls Duduri to get lilies of the valley that she will use to make Gabbi fall in love with the first person he sees when he wakes up. After Duduri sets out, Dot sees how Ik chases after Loo and pities her as she thinks they are in the same boat. Later, Duduri returns with the flowers.
(Act 2, Scene 1: 60-268)
NOTE: the roles of Oberon and Titania are reversed.
Note: Gabbi sings along as he waits for women, but none appear. After he falls asleep, Dot comes out to cast the spell she has planned with the lilies. Then, in comes Hang and Byeok lost in the woods. Hang tells Byeok they should wait until sunrise and Byeok agrees. Hang makes advancements to Byeok, but she refuses them. After singing of their love for each other, they sleep. Duduri comes to cast the spell on Loo, but they mistake Hang for Loo. After they finish with their job with Hang, Loo and Ik enter. Loo abandons Ik. Frightened by wild woodland creatures of the night, Ik tries to find a safe place and encounters Hang. He wakes up and falls in love with Ik, but she thinks Hang is mocking her. When they exit, Byeok wakes up from a nightmare and calls for Hang who has already left.
(Act 2, Scene 2)
Note: Ajumi enters the woods to look for a rare herb that her dying grandmother told her to look for. Scared of other creatures in the woods she does all kind of tricks that are known to cast away spirits and “dokgabis.” Then Duduri comes to put the pig head on Ajumi. Gabbi wakes up, sees Ajumi, and falls in love with her. Gabbi asks Ajumi questions and tries to seduce her. She is confused as to why he is acting the way he is. Gabbi is completely infatuated with Ajumi.
Note: Ajumi is suppose to be Ajumma a rather condescending word used to describe Korean women who become very resilient and strong after having given birth to children. Ajumi here at first intends to say that “she is just an Ajumma” but because she wants to be a more feminine character, she changes it to Ajumi in the moment.
(Act 3, Scene 1)
NOTE: Dokgabi s one of the spirits in Korean folk beliefs but is different in that it is not the ghost of a dead spirit but rather from that of used objects in daily life. It can take the forms of any animal or human. Because it has been part of the culture for a very long time, and has regional differences, it is difficult to tell its origin. However, one common feature is that it likes to appear at night, especially during dark moon, to fool wanderers and travellers and to play tricks on them.
Note: Dot and Duduri reconvene, and as Byeok and Loo enter, they realize that they have chosen the wrong guy (Hang). Byeok thinks Loo killed Hang and tries to get away from him. In despair, Hang does a dance (see note below about Han Lyang Moo) and sleeps in hope to see Byeok in his dreams. While he sleeps, Dot sends Duduri to find and bring Ik as she makes Loo smell the lilies. When he wakes and sees Ik, he falls in love with her. While the two men fuss about who will be with Ik, Byeok enters. Ik thinks all of this is a joke or that they are making fun of her. They start fighting. Dot watches over this and finally orders Duduri to stop them.
(Act 3, Scene 2)
Han Lyang Moo
This is a man’s traditional dance. Han Lyang means men who liked to spend the day with music and dance, and not study (in those times - Chosun Dynasty, all eligible men studied for a royal position). This dance is intended to free the souls of stressed out scholars and non-scholars.
Note: Gabbi indulges Ajumi with everything he can afford, and Ajumi enjoys this. He sings a verse (slightly altered) of “sa rang ga” (see note below about Pan so ri) which speaks of his true love towards Ajumi. After seeing all this, Dot decides to release Gabbi from the spell so that they will think everything was a dream when they wake up. Gabbi thinks he had a terrible dream and reunites with his wife Dot. Loo, Byeok, Hang, and Ik all awaken from a dream. Hang and Byeok reunite, and Ik and Loo are now mutually in love. Ajumi wakes up and finds the very precious herb that her grandmother was talking about.
(Act 4, Scene 1, excluding the parts with Theseus and Hippolyta)
This is a form of folk music where the singer tells a story. The clip is part of the Korean version of Romeo and Juliet called Chun Hyang Jun, a famous verse named sa rang ga (love song). In the play, although maybe not as deep in voice, but it uses the pan so ri technique in telling the story. From time to time, the instrumentalist who is sitting on the side, says small phrases which is called choo im sae. It is meant to excite the storytelling of the singer. You can see this sometime in MND when the actors playing the instruments makes noise like sounds. They are usually saying “ul ssoo!” “jo ta!” which doesn’t really have a meaning but more of sounds to show that they are having fun.