“Whence this love arose is unknown, what is felt is that it grows deeper and deeper”; “it is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves” - through trials and tribulations, life and death - 400 years later the enduring Classics of the legendary Tang and Shakespeare, were brought together and staged in Malta.
On December 2, “time and space” were literally transcended at China Cultural Centre, with the “Dialogue Across Time and Space” theatrical compilation of works by the two playwrights, co-organized by China Cultural Centre in Malta and Centre of International Cultural Exchange, Ministry of Culture of China, in celebration of the 400th Anniversary since the death of Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare. Before the performance, three Chinese language students who were awarded the “Trip to China for Outstanding Students” this year, presented the annual Scholarship Programme Travelogue, sharing their impressions and memories of China with an audience of around 50 Chinese Culture enthusiasts.
CCC Director Mr Wang Yanjun opened the evening with a speech, stating that CCC`s annual Travelogue by winners of the “Trip to China for Outstanding Students” is a means of sharing first-hand experiences and reflections on present-day China with friends and members of the public in Malta, who may not have had the opportunity to do so themselves. He added that on this occasion, the staging of excerpts from works by the two colossal contemporaries, Tang and Shakespeare, added special significance to the event. Mr Wang went on to say that although Shakespeare was well-known to all present, many would not be familiar with Tang Xianzu, so that the commemorative exhibition and lecture recently held at the University of Malta on this theme, along with the drama sketches to be presented that evening, were especially intended to raise awareness on this literary Master and his works. Furthermore, the preparation for this event served as an interesting drama activity aimed enriching CCC students` Chinese language learning experience. Mr Wang concluded with sincere thanks to the instructors who flew to Malta especially to conduct a fast-track language associated drama training course for this purpose.
The 12 participants were in fact CCC`s own language students, amongst them being the Mr Joseph Cutajar, the Mayor of Birzebbugia and a Gozo resident who despite the distance commuted regularly to Mainland Malta to attend the rehearsals. Preparation for this show commenced in September, under the guidance of one of CCC`s members of staff, for which each member of the cast undertook at least two weekly sessions of reading aloud, script reciting and pronunciation training. One week prior to their performance, the Centre of International Cultural Exchange appointed professionals of the Quick Chinese Education and Training Center, Ms Wang Li Yue, a professional stage coach; Ms Dong Fanglin, a Kunqu Opera Play Director, and Ms Xie Jian, a Chinese Language teacher, to conduct a training course for the participants. The students were very enthusiastic to make the most of the favourable opportunities offered by their instruction, diligently observing and practicing the correct poise, gestures and intonation, familiarizing themselves with the customary flicking of “water sleeves” and details of their character study. Indeed, they reaped the fruits of their endeavours as all enjoyed their elegant deliverance.
The tutors` expert guidance and dedication of the CCC students and staff met with no less than absolute success, receiving clamorous applause from the admiring audience. After the performance, the participants expressed their contentment with a warm exchange of embraces, taking turns to have photographs taken with Mr Wang Yanjun, who congratulated them on their achievement. Many in the audience claimed to have been deeply moved by the performance, some even admitting to have shed tears as they were overwhelmed by the beauty of that evening`s experience. What is more, quite a few pledged to take part themselves, the next time CCC would organize such an event.
Tribute to the two literary giants, has been one of the highlight events on CCC`s Cultural Calendar for 2016, comprising the Exhibition “Dialogue Across Time and Space”, and the lecture which was complemented it titled “Tang Xianzu and His World: The Story of a Contemporary of Shakespeare”, both of which were held at and co-organized with Malta`s most prestigious academic institution, The University of Malta. CCC`s theatrical presentation on this theme adds to the variation and success of “Dialogue Across Time and Space – Commemorating the 400th Anniversary Since the Death of Tang Xianzu and William Shakespeare.
(Translated Aida Daoud Bushra)