SHANGHAI, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- Eight actors from China and Britain, all of whom are of Chinese decent, are in intense rehearsals on a version of King Lear that not only updates Shakespeare's great tragedy but transplants it to Shanghai sometime in the future.
The drama is being jointly produced by the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center and Yellow Earth Theater (YET) of the UK.
David Tse Ka-Shing, YET's artistic director, said his version of King Lear, is set in both Shanghai and London, in the year 2020. King Lear has been transformed into a Chinese tycoon who operates a vast business empire.
"My version of King Lear is full of oriental philosophy, which tells a story about family ties," said Mr. Tse. "There is misunderstanding in a family of immigrants where the elder immigrant has difficulty communicating with his children." Tse, emigrated to England at the age of six with his parents but later found himself having difficulty communicating with them.
Tse said Chinese audiences can relate to the story of King Learas Shakespeare's moral lessons compare to the values found in Confucius.
Tse said the four British actors are ethnic Chinese how never learned to speak Chinese while the Chinese actors have limited ability to speak English.
The language barrier was a major problem for Tse. "In the end, I resorted to letting the Chinese actors speak in Chinese and the Britons in English." Chinese actor Zhou Yemang plays the lead.
The British actors will mainly follow Shakespeare's original text while the Chinese actors will perform lines in Chinese translated by Zhu Shenghao, a famous Chinese translator, said Tse.
Shakespeare, whose plays were first brought to China western missionaries in the mid-19th century, has had a big following in present-day China. Thirty-seven of Shakespeare's literary works have been translated into Chinese.
Tse's adaptation of King Lear will run from Oct. 25 to Nov. 4 at the Drama Salon of Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center.
The drama troupe have been invited to perform at the International Shakespeare Festival of Britain in November. The troupe will give performances at the Royal Shakespeare Theater between Nov.15 - 18 and also perform in Nottingham, Liverpool and London till Dec. 9, said a spokesman for the Shanghai Drama Arts Center. Enditem