September 11th, 2010


Methought I was enamoured of an ass.

I know I have a few Shakespeare nuts on my flist, so had to share this amazing show I saw last night. It was the Yohangza Theatre Company from South Korea doing Midsummer Night’s Dream.

This company has taken the familiar play and made it all their own and all Korean. The story is now based in Korean folklore– the fairies are Dokkebi, and Puck is now two beings – impish goblins known as the Duduri twins.

The main difference is that Shakespeare’s text isn’t used. So how is this Shakespeare? Well the story is told through an amazing combination of physical theatre, dance, song and music. This expressed the poetry and vibrancy of Shakespeare’s language, so that it’s like his words just being spoken in other forms. There is dialogue in Korean (there were English surtitles), but honestly if you know even the synopsis of the story, you barely need them.

The performers were amazing and all played the music, on traditional Korean instruments. I should add the performance, while drawing from traditional forms of Korean theatre, was entirely contemporary in its content and presentation - right down to the clever use of glow sticks!

The production really captured the both the broad bawdy farce and the shmoopy romance of Midsummer Night’s Dream to perfection. And it was hilarious! Seriously the audience laughed throughout, and when we weren’t laughing there were many moments of squees of delight! At the end during the curtain call the audience rose in something that was part ovation, part clappy hands dancing! The next day I am still smiling.

Yohangza Theatre tours the world, so if you ever get a chance to see them – do yourself a favour.