Thu, Aug 11, 2011 - Page 15 News List

Taiwanese group performs King Lear at Edinburgh festival

Wu Hsing-kuo of the Contemporary Legend Theatre plays 10 different roles in King Lear.

Photo: courtesy of contemporary legend theatre


With their own adapted version of William Shakespeare’s tragedy King Lear, Taiwan’s Contemporary Legend Theatre (CLT) will be showcasing their talent for British audiences at the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) starting this weekend until next Tuesday.

King Lear is the story of a king who disposes of his estate to two of his three daughters based on their flattery. As he eventually descends into madness, his third daughter dies in prison, and the story ends in tragedy for all. The play will be performed at the 658-seat Royal Lyceum Theatre for four consecutive days starting on Aug. 13.

CLT’s version of King Lear is said to be an instant classic for the group’s artistic director and principal actor, Wu Hsing-kuo, who puts on a one-man show of 10 different roles. In the play, Wu utilizes Beijing opera’s traditional skills of song, speech, dance and combat. The characters through which he reinterprets the original King Lear also embody a mixture of the traditional Beijing opera roles of sheng (main male role), dan (all female roles), jing (forceful male roles) and chou (male clown roles).

During a recent media interview, the director of the EIF, Jonathan Mills, said this will be the first year that the festival has focused on Asian cultures. The festival aims to allow more exchanges among different cultures, and also hopes to expose audiences to the philosophies and enlightening values of a multicultural Asia. Mills also added that only invited artists are allowed to perform at the festival.

In an interview with the British newspaper the Guardian, Mills described Wu’s cast of one as “a very solitary play and a tour de force.” Wu’s group is the only artistic group from Taiwan that has ever been invited to perform at the festival. In April this year, CLT staged their adaptation of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot for French audiences in Paris.


1. showcase v.

展現 (zhan3 xian4)

例: The exhibition showcases local artists every year.


2. reinterpret v.

重新詮釋 (chong2 xin1 quan2 shi4)

例: Courts are constantly reinterpreting the law.


3. solitary adj.

獨自 (du2 zi4)

例: She took a solitary stroll along the shore as the waves gently brushed against her bare feet.




「李爾王」的故事敘述一位國王,在三位女兒中的其中兩位不停諂媚後,將領地分給她們。但最後國王陷入瘋狂,而第三位女兒也命喪牢獄。該劇自八月十三日起連續四天,於擁有六百五十八個座位的劇院Royal Lyceum Theatre上演。





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