'The Execution of the Judge of Hell'

Updated: 2012-08-08 14:25


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'The Execution of the Judge of Hell'

Experimental Peking opera, an innovative attempt to revive a traditional Chinese art, is pervasive nowadays. Despite failed predecessors, new shows emerge one after another in a quest to balance tradition and modernity while finding an audience.

The Execution of the Judge of Hell, based on the traditional Peking opera, Zha Panguan, incorporates shadow play and Peking opera with experimental twists.

The Execution of the Judge of Hell will run from August 8 to 19 at the Xiaoke Theater, in Beijing's 798 Art Zone.

This is the second time the play will be staged for domestic audiences, said Han Chi, producer of the play.

"After this round, we will go to France and Italy for the rest of the year," she said. "Since it was produced in 2009, we have been trying to introduce it to audiences at home and abroad," said Han. "We have been targeting foreign audiences, because we hope foreigners will understand and love traditional Chinese culture."

French director

Directed by French director Sarah Oppenheim, the play premiered in June 2009 at the 4th China-France Cultural Season in Beijing. It then toured several European countries including France and Poland, where Han said it was positively received.

"The combination of Peking opera and shadow play is new to them, as well as the Chinese storyline," Han told Global Times.

Peking opera and shadow play are time-honored traditions in China, but the two art forms are rarely staged together.

Though Peking opera is granted State protection, shadow play, or shadow puppetry, has gradually retreated from public eye, despite its entry into the UNESCO World Intangible Heritage Lists in 2011.

The play, with its dual setting on earth and hell, offers an optimal chance to incorporate the two.

The Execution of the Judge of Hell is tells the story of Bao Gong, or Bao Zheng, an incorruptible official in Chinese history.

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