NCPA to stage Chinese adaptation of Greek play

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Artists from the NCPA perform a part of the same play at a news conference in Beijing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

As a third-generation researcher and translator of Greek dramas, Luo Tong grew up listening to her grandfather, Luo Niansheng, reading books aloud in English, Greek and Latin. "It was my grandfather's wish to promote ancient Greek plays among the Chinese audience. By understanding a different culture, we can take a broader view of the whole world," Luo Tong says.

For the NCPA adaptation of The Birds, the play's set designer Zhang Kunpeng is going to cover the stage with paper and fold up the edges. He is also using traditional paper-cutting techniques to design objects such as trees and pillars.

Luo Jinlin says since ancient Greek drama is an important theatrical culture with a long and rich history, research in this field is ongoing. However, ancient Greek drama is rarely staged in China and the translation of such plays also needs to be developed in the country.

In 1985, Luo Jinlin directed the Chinese play, Oedipus the King, based on Sophocles' play of the same title, which was translated by Luo Niansheng. It was the first time that an ancient Greek play was performed in the country as a local production.

During the past three decades, Luo Jinlin has not only adapted ancient Greek plays into Chinese but has also mixed Greek drama and Chinese opera. For example, he has combined Sophocles' play Antigone with Hebei's bangzi opera, a popular art form in northern China.

"My father gave a lot of lectures on ancient Greek plays to his students and the general audience. After I became a director, I have continued his tradition of sharing the history of ancient Greek plays with others," says Luo Jinlin.

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