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Shakespeare and gender-bending

By Chen Nan  (China Daily)

08:43, June 11, 2012

What would we expect when an all-male troupe performs Shakespeare? And what if they do so with a mix of serious techniques, comedy and rock 'n' roll?

There are elements of all this in the all-male Shakespeare productions of founder and director Edward Hall's company, Propeller.

Founded in 1997 in England, the company is bold yet tender, shocking yet comforting. They will bring The Winter's Tale and Henry V to Beijing and Shanghai.

Actor Dugald Bruce-Lockhart will play the role of Henry V, who grows from boyhood to manhood amid blood and war. Robert Hands will play the king of The Winter's Tale, who is obsessed with, and destroyed by, jealousy.

Naturally, it may take a moment to get used to seeing men in dresses. However, the gender-bending doesn't constrain the performances but, rather, allows them freedom to interpret the core of each role.

Henry V, 7:30 pm, June 8; The Winter's Tale, on June 9 and 10 at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts. 010-6655-0000.

Henry V, 7:30 pm, June 13 and 14; The Winter's Tale, on June 15 and 16, at Lyceum Theater, 57 Maoming Nanlu, by Changle Lu, Shanghai. 021-6217-2426.


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