Cultural Integration In Hamlet

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Artistic Design and Cultural Integration in Jung-ung Yang’s Hamlet Hamlet, performed by the Yohangza Theatre Company of Korea and directed by Jung-ung Yang, is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that integrates Korean Shamanist rituals with the original storyline and text. Performed in Korean and featuring an all Korean cast, the play made its debut in 2009 at the Myeongdong Theater in Seoul. The play was later also performed at the at the 2010 Oz Asia Festival in Adelaide, the 2011 Shakespeare-Festival Neuss in Germany, and at the Peacock Theatre in London in 2014 (Yung). It is clear that many liberties are taken in this adaptation of Hamlet; therefore, evaluating the effectiveness of the overall production based on the accuracy of the …show more content…

Although Yang believes that he is “faithful word to word as to the original play” (Allan), it is clear to the audience that the play retains only the barebones of Shakespeare’s text. For example, the stage time of supporting characters (such as Laertes and Horatio) are minimized, Hamlet’s soliloquies are significantly shortened, and the Fortinbras subplot was completely removed. Stage time is instead devoted to the Shamanist rituals that features slow paced and deliberate movement in which characters communicate with the dead; specifically, between Hamlet and his father, between Laertes and Ophelia, and within Hamlet, as he slowly loses consciousness and inches towards death. In an interview with Hongik University in 2010, Yang describes his conception of Hamlet as a distinctively Korean story and underscores the importance of the rituals to his production: that the play itself is a “ritual” that enables the “resentful Korean [characters]” to achieve “harmony and spiritual relief” through Shamanist rituals that “reunites the deceased with those who are alive” (Choe). While these “reunions” bring emotional anguish to the characters in the play, they also prompt the characters to act and move the plot forward. In this way, Yang removes the political aspects of the story and effectively replaces the dialogue and the actions of minor characters, creating an uncluttered and more impactful storyline that focuses on emotional and psychological

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