Hamlet_Avataar, a unique Indo-Korean theatre production, is an adaptation of the Shakespearean original, directed by Hyoung-taek Limb, Artistic Director of the Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts. The production which includes a dramatic re-telling with Indian and Korean music, dance and theatre vocabularies with the concept of ‘avatar’ as the underlying theme, is developed by The Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts and InKo Centre, with support from Arts Council Korea. Hamlet_Avataar will be premiere at the Korea Performing Arts Center in Seoul, Korea this October and in India, next year.

Hamlet Avataar

Action happens in imagination and that imagination is always accompanied by sacrifice. This is not to destroy but to create through devotion, like Shiva who destroys for creation. New orders come from the chaos and soon that order becomes chaotic.
The very first scene starts with the moving image that Hamlet gets carried out on a stretcher: The border between death and life is portrayed in colorful neardeath image with an overlapping image of a baby.…
When Hamlet meets the clowns, he says, "Is there anything special in theater? One puts on some clothes, tells some lies, and it’s enough, isn’t it? And then the audience claps, laughs and sheds tears at the spectacle.
Let us make such grand theater. But one thing! Let us not forget, Fun. Theater should be fun. No matter if there’s truth in it or not, theater should be fun. Now let us begin." Hamlet manipulates lights and music.
"No, I shall not use artificial lighting or artificial music. Instead I shall use raw music and raw lighting. For that is the world."…
As Hamlet dies, the backdrop curtain comes down, the last scene is projected, Hamlet disappears behind the curtain. Fortinbras (the same actor who plays Hamlet) tears the curtain from behind and enters. Someone from the audience appears as a baby. The rituals by Fortinbras takes place as Hamlet created his own avataar earlier in the play.
"Truth reveals on stage not in reality." Hamlet_Avataar is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet bringing in elements of traditional Korean and Indian music, dance and theatre vocabularies, while using the ‘Avataar’ myth as an underlying theme. This unique Korean-Indian production is developed by The Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts and InKo Centre, India, with support from Arts Council Korea. The production will be presented from October 23rd to November 2nd, 2014 at the 500-seater Korea Performing Arts Center in Seoul, Korea.
This is a story about a man who has been educated to be a thinker, but who becomes a man of action, motivated by the dark force of revenge. When Hamlet discovers from his father’s ghost that the old king’s death was not an accident but murder, he is torn in two. The ghost claims that the murderer is Claudius. Is the ghost telling the truth, or is it a demon sent from hell to tempt the prince into an evil act? Hamlet decides to be a clown who can play the fictional truth. He now will live in the shape of his ‘Avataar’ Hamlet. Does the truth reveal on stage or in reality? Why do we perform Shakespeare’s Hamlet today? And, why suddenly Avataar? Why do we perform this wellknown classic in the form of Indian-Korean collaboration?
Dislocation, entropy, obsession, discord, disillusionment, conflict, cracked ego, rampant sense of defeat, lethargy, lies, tricks, drug, sexual abuse, collapse of a family, betrayal, rich - poor gap, isolation and mammonism. These are the words we hear everyday from the newspaper, TV and online. We become insensitive to all of these words, caught in a trap of numbness to morality.
We live in the society condensed with all of wickedness such as disharmony of mind and body, mismatch between reason and emotion, cogitation and action, desire and reality, duty and right.We do need to imagine what is ahead and behind of our reality. That imagination makes our insight deeper and wider to take our life a little further to better future. We seem to have lost that imagination. We just live in a moment to moment reality. Money, power and fame matter. We thus find meaningless avatars in on-line games, stock market and violence.
Where is our real avatar? Hamlet_Avataar is an exploration of a thinker who tries to discover his own avatar. The Indian concept of Avataar is our guiding light in this journey. This journey will make us re-discover the meaning of our life, the reason of the existence of oneself by bringing up the portrait of young man, who is suffering from the meaning of his real presence. It is a journey seeking sublimation through Indian spiritual culture as well as its music and dance fused with Korean art forms. - Hyoung-Taek Limb

Brief introduction to the production
Title: HAMLET_AVATAAR Written by William Shakespeare Adapted and directed by Hyoung Limb Developed by Seoul Factory for the Performing Arts (Korea) & InKo Centre (India) Sponsored by Arts Council Korea
Date: Oct, 23th(Thur) ~ Nov, 2nd(Sun), 2014
Time: Weekdays 8pm / Sat 3pm, 7pm / Sun 3pm(No performance on Monday)
Venue: Korea Performing Arts Center (Daehakro Art Theater)

Korean Artists Hyoung-Taek Limb (Director): Artistic Director of Seoul Factory, graduated from Columbia University of New York (M.F.A. majoring in Theatre Directing), well-know for his international collaboration projects such as Medea and Its Double (awarded Best Directing at Cairo International Theatre Festival), Three Sisters Lost in Time (American-Korean collaboration), The Idiot (Russian-Korean collaboration), etc.
Soyi Kim (Choreographer-Korea): Well-known Korean traditional dancer and choreographer, who has been working with Hyoung in many productions like The Idiot, Floral Bier and Hamlet. Geojong Lim (a.k.a. Enock, Composer-Korea): Composer, percussionist and guitarist. Worked with popular band like Clazzyqui, Ibadi, etc. Seonghyun Hwang (Hamlet)
Kyoung Lee (Gertrude)
Jayeon Ok (Ophelia)

Two accomplished Indian artists are included in this co-production - the acclaimed contemporary dancer, Astad Deboo and the magnificent Baul singer, Parvathy Baul.

Astad Deboo is an Indian contemporary dancer who employs his training in Indian classical dance forms of Kathak as well as Kathakali to create a unique dance form. He is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of modern dance in India. Astad Deboo has established the Astad Deboo Dance Foundation to create awareness about contemporary dance and also help sustain the efforts of non-government organisations to educate and create a platform for street and deaf children to realise their potential. His productions use world music, movement and alternative theatre forms like puppets and masks, as well as poetry. Astad Deboo’s dance has been described by dance critics as Poetry in Motion. He has performed in 70 countries, to date. He was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1996 and the Padma Shri in 2007, by the Government of India.

Being asked to be a part of the Hamlet _Avtaar project brings a new dimension to my work. It is a theatre production where I have been asked to act as well as be a cochoreographer. This, as well as the opportunity to have an exchange with the Korean theatre director Hyoung Taek Limb who is so multi-talented as well as such a dynamic force in the field of contemporary Korean Theatre, promises to be a very exciting creative and learning experience .- Astad Deboo

Arts Council (ARKO)

AParvathy Baul (Mousumi Parial) is a Baul practitioner and singer from the lineage of Legendary Baul Masters Shri Sanatan Das Baul and Shri Shashanko Goshai. She sings in the oldest and purest traditional way of the Bauls, using Ektara instrument), Duggi (an earthen drum tied to the hip) and Nupur (anklets) She incorporates body movement and singing in a very meditative way and is very well-known and admired by people who love the Baul tradition around the world. Parvathy has also practised various disciplines of Yoga, Music, Dance and Theatre. She is a painter and a woodblock printmaker. She has created a form of painted storytelling "Chitra Katha Geethi" incorporating Baul stories, Baul songs, dance and painting. She has established "EkatharaKalari" a Gurukul (Baul Ashram/school) in Kerala to encourage the younger generation to learn Baul path. She has authored a book on Baul tradition "The Song of The Great Soul" and has written several articles on the Baulparampara. She has organised several festivals to bring awareness about the Baul tradition. She has been performing Baul songs, conducting workshops and teaching about the Baul Parampara in India and around the world since the year 2000. She is one of the few women Baul practitioners.

This was the first time I discovered the Korean artists and the Korean Tradition of theatre, music and dance. I was very touched to find similarities between the voice work of Pansori and the Baul tradition. In working with Seoul Factory, I discovered the way Korean contemporary theatre and dance practitioners are working for a new language through the universal story of "Hamlet" and the "crazy wisdom" within it. This language relates a lot to the ancient Asian philosophies and practices. As a Baul practitioner, I was discovering a new way to relate to others present in the group and to the story of Hamlet. The work process we had to go through for this performance was even more interesting as we discovered each other’s individual style, practice and methodology. I even received a name from the Korean performers, "Pa-sem!" Sem means "teacher," and they could not pronounce my name, "Parvathy," so they shortened the name they gave me to “Pa-Sem!” I was very impressed to see the Korean youth taking interest in Indian traditions.

It was interesting to discover the performance work of the clowns and to observe the fine balance between the clown work, moments of intensity, and moments of breaking free. With this work, I had to find a new way to relate as a Baul performer, to bridge the gap between us, sometimes to "let go," to be able to connect. This "letting go" can happen when the artists and the group have found a way to have trust in each other and mutual respect for the work. I experienced this throughout the work process when we were together for a week in August. I am looking forward to working for a longer term in October, where we will have a greater possibility to discover each other through the story of Hamlet Avatar. - Parvathy Baul