A Midwinter Christchurch’s Dream of Shakespeare 基督城冬季的莎士比亚之梦

Cover of ShakespeareWith 23 April 2014 marking the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare‘s birth, the Court Theatre is celebrating the Bard by bringing the midsummer heat into our Christchurch winter!

It is currently staging one of Shakespeare’s most imaginative and magical plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and, fittingly, it is presenting it in a unique conception.

Talented Chinese actors from Peking University’s Institute of World Theatre and the Court Theatre’s favourite Kiwi actors are performing together to interpret this masterpiece. The result promises to be a fascinating blend of their individual creative approaches.

Not being an expert on Shakespeare myself, I thought I’d translate and paraphrase part of a poem written by a brilliant Chinese poet (王佐良 1916-1995)33 years ago:

Shakespeare, with open mind and heart, absorbs one’s charisma,  莎士比亚, 你的心胸坦荡荡吸收这个的俊逸,

Imitates the other’s wildness, 模仿那个的开阔,

To write touching plays, 只要能写出动人的诗剧,

Lets emotions on stage fuel up flames, 让感情在舞台上燃成烈火,

More eternal than fire. 但又比火永恒.

The fate of many characters became the subject of deep thoughts: 多少人物的命运留下了长远思索的命题:

A young intellectual’s confusion, 一个青年知识分子的困惑,

An elderly father’s moaning in the wilderness, 一个老年父亲在荒野的悲啼,

A warrior husband’s love and paranoia, 一个武士丈夫的钟情和多疑,

Another warrior’s awakening at the edge of life, 另一个武士在生命边缘的醒悟,

Made many travellers stop by, 都曾使过往岁月的无数旅人停步,

Searching for the path of life again. 重新寻找人生的道路.

Do you agree with this assessment? Do you think it reflects Shakespeare’s work accurately? What changes do you envisage Chinese actors will bring to the feel of this special staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

 Cover of A Midsummer Night's DreamP.S. Given the multicultural nature of this performance, I thought you might enjoy seeing the following translations of “William Shakespeare” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in different languages.

Chinese:   莎士比亚  –  仲夏夜之梦

Māori:   Rurutao   –  Te Wawata o te Pō Raumati

Korean:   윌리암 셰익스피어  –  한 여름 밤의 꿈

Japanese:   ウィリアム・シェイクスピア  –  夏の夜の夢

I particularly like the fact that Shakespeare translates in Māori as “to stab at one’s emotions” – if you do speak another language, do feel free to share with us how Shakespeare’s name and A Midsummer Night’s Dream have been translated in it.

4 thoughts on “A Midwinter Christchurch’s Dream of Shakespeare 基督城冬季的莎士比亚之梦

  1. Wendy Riley 4 June 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Russian: Уильям Шекспир (William Shakespeare)
    Сон в летнюю ночь (A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

  2. robertafsmith 17 June 2014 / 4:54 pm

    Great blog Yang! What was the performance like?

  3. bibliobishi 18 June 2014 / 11:39 am

    I didn’t get there either, but imagine it would have been absolutely unique. I have seen Chinese Opera and would have liked to see this multi-cultural event. Great blog Yang.

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