It’s a midsummer’s night and the mischievous Dokkebi (Korean goblins), are having a big party…. Combining unique Korean-style movements, facial expression and vocalization with a fresh mix of energetic dance, voice and percussion, the Shakespearean original is compellingly brought to life by Director Jung-Ung Yang’s original script, incorporating themes and characters from Korean culture and folklore.You will witness the Korean equivalents of the fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania, in reverse roles. Bottom is a country woman searching for Sansam, a rare hundredyear- old ginseng, and Puck splits into twins! It is ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by Shakespeare, but it is a fascinating re-telling that is infused with wit and pageantry that is uniquely Korean. As Koo Jayeon, reporter of Seoul magazine states: “‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by the Yohangza Theatre Company contains a kind of universality, transcending cultural differences between East and West.” Inspired by Shakespeare’s play, Yohangza’s production features director Jung-Ung Yang’s original script, incorporating themes and characters from Korean culture and folklore, foremost and perhaps most enjoyable being the figure of the Dokkebi emerge after sunset and disappear before sunrise. The Dokkebi, who love to sing and dance, are similar to sprites and goblins in Western fairy tales. Except for the one or two horns on their heads, they otherwise resemble human beings, compete with human foibles and affections. Another typically Korean character is Ajumi, a feisty woman wondering in the forest collecting herbs to sell at market. The pot of gold at the end of her rainbow is to find the mythic thousand year old ginseng plant (Sansam), thus assuring wealth and happiness for the rest of her life.


  Following the storyline of the Shakespearean original, Director Jung-Ung Yang’s script shows Hang in love with Beuk, who is forced by her father to marry Loo. Hang and Beuk decide to run away and get married secretly. Beuk accidentally tells her secret to her best friend, Ick, who is in love with Loo. Hoping that Loo will give up his love for Beuk, Ik tells Rue about Beuk’s plans to elope with Hang. However, the story gets more and more twisted. Loo runs after his love and meets the Dokkebi Oberon, who is constantly flirting with girls while his Dokkebi wife, the head of all the goblins, hatches a plan to fix him. However, as the critic Leah Milner points out, “Yohangza makes physical theatre an extreme sport in their spectacular retelling of Shakespeare’s comedy. Korean folklore breathes new magic into the tale, with its mischievously humourous Dokkebi goblins. Milner calls it a truly multilingual performance narrated in a foreign tongue and through the combined languages of dance, percussion and mime, with the Korean cast losing nothing in translation.” Awarding the production a 5 star rating, Milner goes on to add, “the lights are dimmed, the actors dance with glowing bangles to welcome us to their dreamscape. Percussion immerses the nocturnal forest in surround sound, the performers disperse through the auditorium to produce an orchestra of insect noise and beastly howls. All the main characters are represented, but there are subtle changes and role reversals in their Korean counterparts. Shakespeare’s Oberon is the dominant partner who casts a spell on his wayward fairy queen Titania, but in the South Korean version it is the Dokkebi queen Dot who wears the trousers. She has her husband Kabi fall for the grotesque Bottom character, an elderly woman the fairies have transformed into a pig. Duduri is played by two actors, at times manoeuvring as a single body and at others dividing into a Puck-ish double-act. Much of the drama is conveyed by facial expression, gesture and martial-arts inspired dance. Slapstick comedy is enhanced by random and deliberately incongruous interjections in broken English, its perfect comic timing bridges the cultural gap between audience and cast.” 

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