French theatergoers are cordially invited to watch Taiwanese artist Wu Hsing-kuo (吳興國) switch between half a dozen different characters in his one-man "King Lear” drama production in Paris during late September.
Wu, the co-founder and artistic director of Taiwan's Contemporary Legend Theatre (當代傳奇劇場), is trained in classical Peking opera and contemporary dance. Although he has received accolades for his silver screen performances, he is best known for his reinterpretation of Western classic plays.
Using techniques and elaborate costume concepts from Beijing opera, Wu has re-imagined and hyper-stylized Kafka's "Metamorphosis,” as well as four Shakespearean productions — "The Tempest,” "Hamlet,” "Macbeth,” and "King Lear.”
Touted as "a tour de force performance” by The New York Times, Wu's "King Lear” was first conceived with encouragement from French stage director Ariane Mnouchkine in 2001. A decade and 16 nations later, the Beijing opera-inspired Shakespearean play will return to Theatre du Soleil, an avant-garde stage ensemble founded by Mnouchkine.
Wu will celebrate Theatre du Soleil's fiftieth anniversary by simultaneously depicting the maniacal Lear and his ally Gloucester, the three daughters, the pitifully lonesome Fool — in short, the entire cast.
Contemporary Legend: ‘King Lear'