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Hamlet Q1 (Lee, 2009)

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Hamlet Q1

Hamlet Q1

Author: William Shakespeare
Translator / Director: Hyon-u Lee
Planning: Youngah Song
Producer: Miyeah Kim
Performed March 20-29, 2009 at the Dionysus Dramatic Studies Center

Hamlet Q1 (Korea, 2009) was directed by Hyon-u Lee and based on Lee’s literal translation of the First Quarto (Q1) text of Hamlet. The setting of the play has been changed to the late Chosun Dynasty (~1900), during a time of political turmoil between the rising Japan and China.

In his director’s note, Lee explains that he chose the First Quarto because of the probability that this text preserves key aspects of the play as originally performed at the Globe. Q1 is significantly shorter than the Folio or Second Quarto, Hamlet is much less philosophical and speculative and rather more emotional and active. Lee also argues that the Hamlet seen in Q1 is much “younger” than the one in the Folio.

Lee also changes the setting and period so that Korean audiences could relate to Hamlet in a more intimate way. Through the shift to Korea in the late Chosun period, Lee aims to help the audience understand the political situation of Denmark, and thus ultimately for them to understand Hamlet’s state of mind. He further intends for the younger generation of Korea to discover its relation to the current situation of society by connecting Shakespeare’s Denmark to modern Korea.


Hamlet – MooSaeng Lee
Ghost, English Envoy, Player (Duke) – JungGeun Park
King of Denmark – Hwang Gun
Gertrude – Yeongyu Lee
Corambis, Priest – Junsam Kim
Laertes, Player (Narrator) – SungTae Eom
Ophelia – Solji Lee
Montano, Guard 1, Bragart Gentleman, Player (Lucianus) – Seungho Cha
Horatio – Myungsik Kim
Fortinbras, Voltimner – Sukmoon Jang
Rosencrantz, Marcellus, Gravedigger 1 – Woojun Choi
Player (Duchess) – Miyeah Kim
Gildenstern, Bernardo, Gravedigger 2 – Younghyun Kim
Cornelius, servant – Hangho Tae


Directing – Hyon-u Lee
Stage Design – Jonghyun Pyo
Costume Design– Jihyun Kim
Music, Sound Effects –Jinho Kim
Makeup – Sohee Kim
Light Design – Jinchul Jung


Hamlet Q1 script in Korean and in English: Modern edition or 1603 edition.

Stage sketch drawn by Jong-hyun Pyo.

Stage sketch drawn by Jong-hyun Pyo.



PARK Hong-Kyu. “The 21 st Century ‘Hamlet’ … Recalling the Breath of Shakespeare.” Daily Nocutnews, 14 March 2009. ( – in Korean)

KIM So-Min. “How about enjoying ‘Hamlet’ of the Korean Empire?” Biz Herald, 6 March 2009. ( – in Korean)

KIM Hee-Sun. “The Flow Theatre Performs ‘Hamlet’ Q1.” Yonhap News, 18 Feburary 2009. ( – in Korean)

Book References

JUNG Kab-Jun. “Shakespeare’s Different Text: Hamlet Q1.” Cultura 14, 2009. 175-179.

KIM Sung-Hwan. “The Encounter with History, Stage, and Actors.” Wilderness 2, 2009. 225-230.


Hsu, Yi-Hsin. “Lee Hyon-u’s Hamlet Q1 and Pedagogical Performance on the Korean Stage: Textual Identity in Intercultural Theatre.” Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 34 no. 2, 2017, p. 435-454. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/atj.2017.0031​.


Hamlet Q1


To be or not to be

(With English subtitles)

(With English subtitles) less


(With English subtitles)

(With English subtitles) less

Players arrive

(With English subtitles)

(With English subtitles) less

Play within a play

(With English subtitles)

(With English subtitles) less

Hamlet Q1 : Full Video

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