In early November 2016, the award-winning production of the National Stary Theatre in Kraków was staged in Beijing.
The performance was presented on 4th, 5th and 6th November at the Beijing People's Art Theatre. For the director Jan Klata it was the second meeting with Chinese audiences – the first, barely two weeks earlier, took place at the important Wuzhen Theatre Festival, which held shows of his Enemy of the People. The Beijing shows were part of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. At the same time, they were a continuation of Polish theatre's 'big impact' in China, started 3 years ago. Polish productions presented throughout the project include Krystian Lupa's Persona. Marilyn, Woodcutters and Heroes' Square, Krzysztof Warlikowski's (A)pollonia and Grzegorz Jarzyna's Martyrs, as well as many others.
Jan Klata is another star of modern Polish theatre introduced to Chinese viewers. His King Lear, awarded with the Golden Yorick award for the best Shakespeare performance in Poland in 2015, is set in Vatican. The opulent set forms an impressive background to the classic tale of power and madness. Since February 2016, the show has been presented in a new form, with the protagonist substituted with video projections, due to the death of the actor Jerzy Grałek who played the leading role.
Jan Klata in his original interpretation of King Lear raises fundamental questions about the source of the human power on earth, the possibility of abdication of a ruler whose office is of divine origin, and the spiritual dimension of the death of the king, who in the show is replaced by the pope. The jury appreciated the consistent aesthetic concept of the performance, its clear composition and the proficiency of the artists involved in realizing the vision of the director.
– Jacek Kopciński, Head of the Jury of the 19th Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival
Beijing People's Art Theatre is one of the more prestigious stages in Beijing. In summer 2015 it presented Michał Zadara's Forefathers' Eve, Part 1, 2 and 4. The success of the play encouraged the theatre to continue cooperation with Polish artists.
Sources: promotional materials, Culture.pl, edited by AW, 14 Oct 2016
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