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The world's a stage when the Bard meets Chinese opera

By Chen Jie (China Daily)

08:28, April 28, 2012

The National Theatre of China will present Richard III, in Chinese. Provided to China Daily

"O for a muse of fire..." Shakespeare wrote for the chorus in Henry V, inviting audiences to travel with him on a voyage of the imagination.

And the wild journeys of his plays, first traveling in English, soon multiplied into many fresh sojourns in a host of different tongues, including Chinese.

The National Theatre of China's deputy director Wang Xiaoying says Shakespeare's stories are timeless and universal. It's not strange that his plays are still produced throughout the world today.

"But it would be really marvelous to do a Shakespeare play today in his home country and especially on the stage where Shakespeare's company performed in his time," the acclaimed director says.

This spring, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London - built by the Bard's company in 1599 - brings together artists from around the world to perform Shakespeare's plays in 37 languages. Wang and his actors will present Richard III, in Chinese, on April 28 and 29.

It's the National Theatre of China's first visit to the United Kingdom.

"We'll show the new face of modern Chinese theater through Shakespeare's wicked horror show of power and paranoia," the director says.

The Globe Theatre first assigned him to do Henry V. But he proposed selections from Macbeth, Richard III and Antony and Cledpatra, because he loves the Bard's tragedies.

Wang admits it's a big challenge.

It's his first Shakespeare production.

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