Several Bard-inspired Asian offerings join summer lineup
A Chinese opera-inflected version of “King Lear,” Shanghai Peking Opera’s take on Hamlet and a New York-originated stage adaptation of “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle” are among the offerings on tap at the 2011 Edinburgh Intl. Festival, the annual summer event that runs concurrently with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Whereas last year’s lineup took the Americas and the New World as its theme, this year the fest focuses on theater, dance, opera and music from the Far East, including the cultures of China, South Korea, India, Indonesia and Japan. Festival runs Aug. 12-Sept. 4.
Helmer Jonathan Mills, who has confirmed his plans to remain in the post until August 2014, said he wanted to draw attention to the world’s shifting patterns of economic power.
“Twenty years ago, if one had presented a festival like this, you would have said it’s all from the Far East, whereas today, one could just as easily suggest that it is going to the Far West,” he said.
Several productions take inspiration from Shakespeare. China’s Contemporary Legend Theater presents a version of “King Lear” in which helmer Wu Hsing-kuo plays all the parts, drawing on the style of Chinese Peking opera. From South Korea, Mokwha Repertory Company stages “The Tempest” in which helmer Tae-Suk Oh takes inspiration from Korean folklore.
In the opera program, meanwhile, “The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan,” by the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe, takes the central story of “Hamlet” and relocates it to the fictional Realm of the Red City for a production featuring acrobatics, martial arts and dance.
Elsewhere, Western artists make connections with Eastern cultures. From Gotham comes the preem of “Wind-Up Bird Chronicle,” a multimedia adaptation of the Haruki Murakami novel by Stephen Earnhart and Greg Pierce. The show, which was seen in workshop form at Gotham’s 3-Legged Dog in 2008 and in preview at Under the Radar in 2010, is expected to go on to major touring destinations in the 2011-12 season.
After its preem in Toronto’s Luminato festival, “One Thousand and One Nights” heads to Edinburgh. Helmer Tim Supple works with performers from across the Arabic world for this two-part epic, which is also slated for international touring.
In music programming, the Philip Glass Ensemble will accompany Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy of North American environmental movies, “Koyaanisqatsi” (1983), “Powaqqatsi” (1988) and “Naqoyqatsi” (2002).