Queering Romeo and Juliet in South Korea: Homonormativity as Gay Utopian Fantasy

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This article examines two recent queer adaptations of Romeo and Juliet in Seoul, attending to their opposite receptions in relation to the gap between queer theory and gay reality. It focuses on LAS's Juliet and Juliet, hailed as 'female queer theatre' despite being conservative gay, while discussing briefly in comparison Yohangza's Romeo and Juliet, decried as 'anti-queer' for all its queerness. Although the dream of a happy married life in Juliet and Juliet appears similar to the much-critiqued homonormativity, I defend it as a 'gay utopian fantasy' rooted in the predicament of Korean queers under the ideology of familism. Questioning the adequacy of Western-centric queer theory to explain Korean gay reality, I call for the need to develop alternative concepts and positive vocabularies to give voice to the lived experience and aspiration of sexual minorities in countries like Korea, for whom the post-gay era has not yet arrived.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-237
Number of pages16
JournalTheatre Research International
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Oct 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Yonsei University Research Fund of 2021 (2021-22-0062).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © International Federation for Theatre Research 2022.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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