When all the world's a stage

Updated: 2015-07-31 08:30

By Zhang Chunyan(China Daily Europe)

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When all the world's a stage

The National Theatre of China brings Chinese-language play Richard III to the Globe Theatre in London. Provided to China Daily

Chinese theater company returns to the UK with shakespeare's Richard III

Shakespeare's Globe, on London's South Bank, has embraced the Chinese-language version of Richard III.

The National Theater of China has adapted Shakespeare's historical play, which is famous for its Machiavellian lead and quotable verses about horses and winters of discontent.

The Globe, with its open-air setting and wooden stage, has similarities with Chinese theater stages from hundreds of years ago. For the performance, the London set has Chinese flourishes, with paper screens showing the play's text in Chinese characters.

Other than the language there are key differences between the original and Chinese version of Richard III.

One such example is that the Chinese adaptation borrows an element from another Shakespearian play, Macbeth, in the form of three witches.

"This is our return to the Globe Theatre," says director Wang Xiaoying.

In 2012, the Globe invited theater companies from around the world to stage all 37 of Shakespeare's works in 37 different languages for the Globe to Globe Festival, which was part of London's 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

Since then, the Globe has invited foreign theater companies back to the capital each summer to perform Shakespeare's work in their own languages.

"When the Globe Theatre invited me to do a play as a representative of Chinese theater, I felt it was an opportunity to do a totally Chinese edition for a global audience," Wang says.

He and his team use Peking Opera, costumes, music, kung fu and swordplay to give a Chinese twist to an English classic.

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