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Acting out

By Jiang Yuxia (Global Times)

09:04, May 07, 2012

A young couple getting to grips with human nature in Israeli playwright Yizhar Smilansky's work At Sea Photo: Courtesy of Nanluoguxiang Theater Festival

The annual Nanluoguxiang Theater Festival hasn't even started yet, but it has already taken its first dramatic casualty. Wang Xiang, the artistic director of Penghao Theater had been up late for days, laboring over the plans for this year's festival, when one evening he was rushed to hospital with heart problems.

Even with three stents in his heart, the full-time dentist, part-time dramatist has already returned to work and is as lively as ever, and was happy to explain why the festival is a labor of love.

"You need to put in a lot of effort to make something really beautiful," Wang decreed after his operation, and is still working to that mantra.

The festival is due to start on Monday, May 14, and plans to showcase 47 original works from both Chinese and international theater groups, a number of which are making their debut at the festival.

Others, however, have already proven their worth on the theater circuit.

Titus Andronicus 2.0, a contemporary interpretation of Shakespeare's first play, directed by Hong Kong director Tang Shu Wing, recreates the bloody tale of revenge, driven by Roman general Titus Andronicus during his return from the campaign against the Goths. The play ran in Hong Kong and was praised for its narrative approach and use of Cantonese to depict Shakespeare. At the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival at the Globe theater in London last week it was praised as a "poetic minimalism of violence" by Howard Choy, associate professor of Chinese Language and Cultural Studies at Wittenberg University.

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