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Simplicity is beauty: Shakespeare's play "Titus Andronicus" from Hong Kong staged in Berlin (with photos)

     To showcase the flourishing and vibrant art scene in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, Berlin (HKETO Berlin) staged a groundbreaking production of William Shakespeare's tragedy "Titus Andronicus" by Tang Shu-wing (TSW) Theatre Studio from Hong Kong on July 4 (Berlin time) in Berlin's historical theatre Admiralspalast.

     First staged in Cantonese during the 36th Hong Kong Arts Festival (2008), the TSW Theatre Studio successfully staged "Titus Andronicus" in 2012 at the World Shakespeare Festival in the Globe Theatre in London as the first Cantonese production ever performed there. Earlier this week, the TSW Theatre Studio was invited to perform at this year's Shakespeare Festival in the Neuss Globe in Germany. At the reception before the Berlin premiere in Admiralspalast, the Director of the HKETO Berlin, Mr Ivan Lee, congratulated the TSW Studio for showcasing the cultural diversity of Hong Kong. "Hong Kong is always a cosmopolitan city. Tang Shu-wing's presentation embodies this spirit of Hong Kong as he incorporates oriental elements such as Chinese music and opera into Shakespeare's play," he said.

     Attended by about 300 guests, the Berlin debut of "Titus Andronicus" de-dramatised Shakespeare's popular work in the sixteenth century with poetic minimalism, displaying a sophisticated and unique hybrid of western and eastern aesthetics in Hong Kong's contemporary theatre. Director Tang Shu-wing worked with simple staging and incorporated the five fundamental mental elements of pre-language expression: breath, movement, facial expression, voice and spatial relationship to release the intensive tension hidden inside the classic text.

     "Titus Andronicus" provided a shining example of Hong Kong's cultural vibrancy. The audience was particularly impressed by the strong energy generated from the stage, especially the transformation of the performers into their characters at the very beginning of the play. During the artist's talk after the performance, Mr Tang shared insights about his minimalistic approach. "I want to explore the total acting and inner soul of our actors. By focusing on the movement and voice we try to discover the relationships between the actors, their inner selves and the audience," he said.

     With encouraging recent developments in the culture and arts arena such as the West Kowloon Cultural District, Hong Kong has laid a solid foundation for a thriving performing arts industry and its role as Asia's creative hub. The HKETO Berlin will continue to explore the rich potential for further collaboration between Hong Kong and Germany in the cultural sector. On August 3, another Hong Kong-based performing arts group, this time an indie folk rock band called "Noughts and Exes", will feature at this year's Water Music Festival in Berlin organised by the House of World Cultures and supported by the HKETO Berlin.

Ends/Saturday, July 6, 2013
Issued at HKT 01:00


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