Korea's acclaimed  have built a formidable reputation for their highly original reinterpretation of classic works. They are currently performing in Melbourne with A Midsummer Night's Dream, and open in Adelaide next week with their production of Hamlet.

Yohangza Theatre Company Director Jung Ung Yang spoke to Australian Stage's Alice Allan.



Yohangza Theatre CompanyHow was the Korean interpretation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream received in 2007?
The performance from Adelaide three years ago, was very memorable one. The reaction from the audience was very enthusiastic from various age groups from youth to elders and families. Everyone who saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream reacted very warmly.

Watching clips of that performance, there seems to have been quite a bit of dance involved. Can we expect something similar from Hamlet?
In Hamlet, we do not say 'a bit of dance involved' but we can say there is alot of movement and physical expression in Hamlet since my interpretation is that there is not only text but also physicality on the stage that is very important.

What are some of the ways the Korean version of Hamlet will differ from the English version?
Soliloquy 'To be or not to be' is placed at the very early part and several scenes came from shaman rites and the order of some scenes in some acts are located in a different order.

Except for those above, I tried to be faithful word to word as to the original play. But audiences in Adelaide might feel very different because our Hamlet is based on Shamanism and Korean culture.

What are some of the other projects the Yohangza Theatre Company has been working on over the past few years?
I directed Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Twelfth Night already. I am thinking to develop Twelfth Night with all male actors [in the] near future.

Peer Gynt was produced by Yohangza Theatre Company last year and also it was re-directed by Catherine Shallivan, American director with Yohangza actors last May after three weeks-Artist-residency program.

Hyu-Jung Cho, associate director produced Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe in July, 2010

We are planning to have international touring with Hamlet next year in July and August in Europe. Peer Gynt will be shown as showcase performance at Performing Arts Market in Seoul this October in Seoul.

What were the actors impressions of Australian audiences last time they toured here?
We still remember our wonderful memories given by Adelaide audiences in 2007 when we have performed A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Adelaide Festival Centre.

I remember myself enjoying the show with the excitement along with the fervent support from the audience. As performers and the company, playing to passionate audiences always makes us happy.

What's next on the agenda for the company?
We will have a show called Don Quixote on this December with famous Korean senior actor at former national theater that has been newly renovated.


Yohangza Theatre Company's production of Hamlet opens at the Adelaide Festival Centre, September 15, 2010. Further details»

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