The original play was written in Mandarin and has proved one of the most influential masterpieces of modern Chinese drama. It carries the same value and impact in China as Shakespeare’s canon does in the English- speaking world.
The play was first staged in the Beijing People’s Arts Theatre in 1958. After the author Lao She’s death in 1966, Teahouse survived despite the Cultural Revolution, being widely performed again after 1985. The narrative is set in the “Yutai” teahouse in Beijing and focuses on the experiences of the manager Wang and his customers. The drama brings alive social transitions from the twilight of Imperial China to the dawn of the People’s Republic.
The reason of this reviving and bringing it to the Fringe is to explore an alternative way of staging – achieving a stronger and more effective communication of the story with English speaking audiences. The problem, clear from reviews of past productions in the UK, is that the subject as first dramatised failed to intrigue and even confused audiences.
“Recognising this, our adaption will tell the story through the memory of the teahouse manager, Wang. This dramatic shift in perspective transforms the play from realism to hyperrealism: characters, plots and sets are all made richer with messages open to the complexities of reflection and interpretation.” – The Y-Y Company
Translation had previously been another challenge: this adaption re-works the dialogue to achieve crisp storylines and characterisation based firmly in the original.
Y-Y Company have brought together an international interdisciplinary team to create and to perform. The company has performed adaptions in the past, such as Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck. We use the play as a textual platform on which rest physical, musical and digital elements. These are emphasised as equally important in terms of dialogue, movement, sound and visual imagery. In performance, literary tropes are not the only form of storytelling. The company is therefore actively exploring and challenging such an approach to iconic texts. For this adaption, The Y- Y Company is in collaboration with Fenyce Ltd., which produced the digital projection of Jean Abreu’s Blood. We are, finally, delighted to have the talented Kevin Shen in the key role of Wang – Kevin was the lead in Yellow Face at the National Theatre in 2014.
Venue: Greenside at Nicolson Square (Venue 209) Emerald Theatre
Tickets: Full £10, Concession £8
Dates: 14th – 18th of August 2017
Time: 16:50 (1hr)
Box Office: 01316186967