Chinese Drama Should No Longer Be an “Import”
Exclusive interview with Wang Xiaoying, vice president of the Chinese Dramatists Association and director at the National Theatre Company of China
China Pictorial (CP): The Prince of Lanling is being staged as China celebrates the 110th anniversary of the arrival of European drama. Was this intentional?
Wang Xiaoying (W): Over more than a century of development, Chinese drama has always been flavored with nationalization. In the past, we considered drama an “import” which we could neither connect Chinese culture and language seamlessly, nor adapt for local audiences. We cannot define the art this way. Japan and South Korea have the best models for combining traditional culture with the theatrical art, and both countries are quite influential on the world stage.
My insight is evidenced in of Lanling. Over the last 10 years, I’ve been striving to tap the spirit of the Chinese nation through Chinese stories in a
modern way, which I call “modern expression of Chinese images.” Over the last few years, I’ve made bold attempts to support this concept in my works such as The Story of Overlord, The Tragedy of King Richard the Third, Fu Sheng, and The Prince of Lanling.
CP: Specifically, how does “modern expression of Chinese images” happen in The Prince of Lanling?
Not only should the “modern expression of Chinese images” infiltrate traditional Chinese art and aesthetics, it should also be presented in a modern, internationalized cultural language environment. Only by doing so can we make “the traditional more modern and the Chinese more international.”