In Search of the Orphan

Greg Doran travels to China to discover more about Chinese culture, arts and theatre practice.

Greg Doran

In preparation for his production of The Orphan of Zhao in the 'A World Elsewhere' season this autumn, Greg Doran and Designer Niki Turner spent a week in Shanghai and Beijing on a research trip. Greg's blog reveals some of their attempts to learn as much as they can about Ming China in their brief visit.

Traffic

August 20, 2012
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It's time to get back to the hotel. As it is not very far away we decide to take one of the little tuk-tuk taxis, known here as hop-hops', for the way they lurch and jerk along like a rabbit trying to escape a fox.

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'If you like it: it's worth it!'

August 17, 2012
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We wander down narrow alleyways jammed with stalls selling mechanical birds singing in cages; the tiny silk embroidered shoes which presumably used to cover the bound feet of Qing dynasty ladies; bronze Buddhas and bamboo chopsticks.

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The Panjianyuan Market

August 16, 2012
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One of the students who has been showing us around is Xu ('you can me Sue') Yaning. Xu is a stage designer herself and has promised to show Niki a huge 'antiques' market where she herself always goes to buy props for any show she is doing.

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The Forbidden City

August 6, 2012

When the Jesuit missionary, Fr Matteo Ricci reached Peking on 24 January 1601, he had waited a long time to get here. He had already spent 19 years in China waiting for his opportunity to meet the emperor and gain his approval to preach the gospel.

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The Ding Ling Tombs

August 6, 2012

Having walked up the Spirit Way, we arrive at the Ding Ling tombs. The Wan Li emperor's tomb was excavated back in the 1950s, and today you can visit the mysterious underground palace, buried under a wooded hillside.

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The Valley of the Mings

July 30, 2012
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We have travelled some 30 miles north west of Beijing, and are relieved to get out of the heavy smog, and breathe some fresh country air.

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An afternoon at the Shanghai Opera

July 27, 2012

Our 'fixer' in the UK, Professor Ruru Li, of Leeds University, has arranged for us to attend a rehearsal of the Shanghai Opera Company.

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A Week in China

July 24, 2012
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Ghosts cannot turn corners, which is why the bridge which crosses to the Huxinting Teahouse in the centre of a little lake in the Yu Bazaar in Shanghai has nine zig-zags. Nine is an especially lucky number in China.

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