ABOUT SHANGHAI SHAKESPEARE
Shanghai Shakespeare is the world’s first permanent Chinese-language theater company dedicated to performing the plays of William Shakespeare.
The power of Shakespeare’s plays transcend the tongue in which they are performed. The psychological acuity with which he created his characters, and the life and death dramas they inhabit, have electrified audiences all over the world for more than four hundred years.
Across the globe, nearly every first-class city is home to a theater that performs the works of Shakespeare in its indigenous language, proof of the universality of Shakespeare’s plays. Berlin, Germany leads the list by producing more of Shakespeare’s plays than any other city in the world. To that list we can now add Shanghai.
The actors of Shanghai Shakespeare have undergone specialized training that combines the principles of the 20th century’s most acclaimed acting teachers with the fast-paced efficiency of Shakespeare’s original staging. The result has given rise to a company of actors who exhibit the unparalleled benefits of a unified approach to performing - a courage and a connectivity that is rarely achieved onstage, and thrilling to behold.
For its inaugural production, Shanghai Shakespeare chose the incomparable, and rarely performed, “Antony and Cleopatra.” In Shakespeare’s grown-up complement to “Romeo and Juliet,” the freshness of first love has been supplanted by the disenchantment of maturity. Betrayal and cynicism are banished in the unbridled desire to sacrifice everything - even life itself - for love.
“Pericles,” is the first of Shakespeare’s final four plays, known as the Romances, whose hallmarks are high adventure, magic, and music. Each tells the tale of a family torn apart by tragedy, miraculously reunited by faith and patience. “Pericles” unfolds like a fairy tale. Its climatic reconciliation is among the most moving scenes in all of Shakespeare.
Shanghai Shakespeare is dedicated to presenting new translations of the works of playwrights both classical and modern. In April 2014 Shanghai Shakespeare produced the first-ever Chinese translations of three short plays by Samuel Beckett, internationally acknowledged as the most important playwright of the 20th century. This historical and ground-breaking event was authorized by the Estate of Samuel Beckett and the publishing firm of Curtis Brown Ltd.
Shanghai Shakespeare is led by classical American actor Thomas Caron, who has appeared in Shanghai in the title roles of Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” Henrik Ibsen’s “The Master Builder,” and as Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.” In 2011 he directed Shanghai Repertory Theater’s acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.” Mr. Caron brings over fifty-five years of experience to the formation and training of Shanghai Shakespeare’s ensemble.
Shanghai Shakespeare is committed to being a permanent fixture for the future of China’s burgeoning embrace of modern culture.
All art is a two-way street. Art is not a palliative. The success of any artistic venture depends on the willingness of the audience to do its part, to meet the artist half-way, to engage with the work, in order to take away the transformation that is the promise of participation.
You, our audience, are as much a part of Shanghai Shakespeare as any of our actors and technicians. Together we will do great things. We look forward to welcoming you.