Wuzhen Theater Festival, Platform for Exchange
   2013-05-10 22:05:04    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Wang Wei

A performer from the Changzhou traditional theater troupe Pingtan performs a show during the first-ever international theater festival in the town of Wuzhen in east China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday May 9, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

 

 

More than 120 performing arts troupes from all over the world have gathered in the ancient Chinese town of Wuzhen to put on 500 shows either in a theater or against the natural backdrop of local wooden houses, rivers and stone bridges.

CRI's Shen Chengcheng has more.

Of the participating international dramatists, American playwright David Henry Hwang has received a great deal of media attention with his play "The Dance and the Railroad," which is being performed during the theater festival as one of the "specially invited plays."

Hwang believes that the Wuzhen Theater Festival will pave the way for more drama exchanges between China and other nations.

"Obviously, American Broadway-style productions have become very popular here in China recently. But also now, I feel like we are starting to see some of the more personal, more artistic work that's being done. Both the American works are coming here, and also we are trying to have Chinese plays coming to New York."

A New York Times commentator once concluded that Hwang had found the perfect way to dramatize both the pain and humor of the immigrant experience by at once bringing West and East into conflict and unity.

"The Dance and the Railroad" fascinates the spectators with a mix of Chinese opera-staging techniques and natural drama to tell the story of two Chinese immigrants struggling through poverty and hunger to reconnect with the traditions of their homeland as they help build America's transcontinental railroad in 1867.

Famous Chinese mainland actress Shi Ke, who will play a role in the play "A Dream Like a Dream" directed by Taiwan-based director Lai Shengchuan at the festival's opening ceremony, believes modern Chinese drama can also include some western elements.

"It is necessary to introduce some new elements into Chinese drama. Drama was originally from the western world, so I think a combination of modern Chinese and western drama is something new and good. But the way to blend elements of western drama into Chinese drama should be smooth. In my mind, this goal can be perfectly achieved if a common thread is sought."

The Wuzhen Theater Festival has also provided a stage for some drama fans who had performed onstage when they were younger to revisit their youth.

Gao Shan, an editor at the Beijing-based publishing house Law Press China, tells CRI he used to be an active student performer in Peking University's Drama Society.

He says the Wuzhen Theater Festival has helped him recall his campus years.

Gao Shan, a member of the Young Theatre Artist's Competition at the festival, thinks highly of the bridge that the cultural event has set up from a drama-performing artist's perspective.

"International troupes are being invited to the Wuzhen Theater Festival, which I believe is of great importance. Now that these national and international performing artists have gathered here, they will conduct exchanges, which will definitely have an influence on their future performances. For example, a Chinese dramatist falls in love with his or her colleague from another country in Wuzhen, and if they cooperate on a drama production, their work of art might be unexpectedly new and creative. I think the charm of a drama lies in its unexpectedness."

For CRI, I'm Shen Chengcheng.

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