This critically-acclaimed production starring Pu Cunxin premiered at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in January 2017.
Li Liuyi’s epic production was enhanced by the costumes designed by Japanese Designer Emi Wada, who won an Oscar for her work in Kurosawa’s Ran, a 1985 film adaptation of King Lear.
To help put the Chinese version of the play together, Translator Daniel SP Yang and Director Li Liuyi shadowed the first two weeks of Gregory Doran’s English production of King Lear. They observed how Gregory works with his actors to uncover the rhythm of the language and the clues that reveal the characters. The Chinese actors, including Pu Cunxin, Lu Fang, Zhao Lin and Luo Wei, were then invited to Stratford to work with Gregory and the principal actors of King Lear, including Antony Sher and Paapa Essiedu.
Qiang Ba Cai Dan
Director - Li Liuyi
Set Design - Micheal Simon, Gong Xun
Costume Design - Emi Wada
Lighting Design - Li Liuyi and Chen Xiajie
Sound Design - Liu Bo
About the production, Li Liuyi said: "Lear was a profound experience for me. The two visits to Greg Doran’s rehearsal room set the foundation of my understanding of the play. To observe the first two weeks in the RSC rehearsal room was inspiring. The way that Greg and the acting company discuss text has challenged the traditional understanding of Shakespeare’s poetry.
"For me, it’s essential to distinguish literature in a traditional sense and dramatic language: how to visualise the philosophical layer of the text; how to find characters in the language and bring the images and characters alive on stage; how to connect to a wider audience. To find these connections are the foundation and principle to get closer to Shakespeare. The experience enhanced my further thinking on how to transpose Shakespeare’s world using Chinese language for the audience today. My thinking became clearer, as the emotional force of the text began to appear.
"My actors often speak fondly of the time in Stratford, the time when they spoke to the RSC actors about the characters, creating a contact point and understanding amongst themselves."