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Performative aspects in Yang Jung-ung’s Hamlet in terms of adapting Gut performance

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2013, 26(3), pp.263-290
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Nam, Ji-soo 1

1Université Libre de Bruxelles

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study aims to research and analyze the performative aspects of the Korean production of Hamlet(2010), adapted with shamanic ritual Gut, by the theatre company Yohangja and Yang Jung-ung. It is worth mentioning that there has been a sort of trend for Korean theatre directors to adopt Hamlet with Gut since the 1990s. Especially, there has been a Korean Shakespeare boom in the last twenty years, and Hamlet has definitely been the most performed and admired by Korean audience. In particular, in this period, Hamlet has been closely connected with shamanism. The most prominent of Hamlet production since the 1990s stage ritual like Gut – in which a shaman appears to be possessed. All stage shaman rituals or a scene of shamanistic possession. As the Korean Hamlets, with few exceptions, have incorporated shamanism, it is within bounds to say that shamanism has become a theatrical trend in any Hamlet adaptation. In this thesis, among many others, I choose to analyze Yang Jung-ung’s Hamlet because it is a unique adapting performance in which director tries to bring the form and structure of Gut to the text. My research is to analyze the performative characteristics of Hamlet, which spontaneously happens during its performing process, principally with German scholar Erika Fischer-Lichte’s aesthetics. In the theatre field, the studies on Gut or theatrical adaptation with Gut have been usually concentrated in particular aspects: the studies on symbolic signs in some representative scenes of Gut, shamanic narrative, meaning of shaman’s chanting etc. Or their researching subject has not been Gut itself, but rather shamanic representation limited to songs or script. There may be a possibility that someone might raise a skeptical question that performativity is an idea to highlight the ongoing process of an event and theoretical tool of the performativity might be too arbitrary to get based on analyzing the performance. That is why it becomes important to analyze performance from a phenomenological perspective as well as semiotic view. And I consider Fischer-Lichte contributes to make the performative theory more concrete and firm by supplementing semiotic aspect into phenomenal body. Based on this theory, I am to analyze how Gut is adapted in Hamlet, how Gut penetrates into spectators’ perception and consciousness, and what kind of performative effects it ultimately earned throughout Gut.

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