A Shakespearean Handan Dream – Seven Kings School review


Following the summer visit to China in 2016, there was further opportunity for our Chinese pupils to discover new and creative aspects of Chinese culture, as we took thirty year 9 pupils to the theatre in September. The show was a fusion of Shakespeare, and Chinese writer Tang Xianzu. Both of these prolific writers died in the same year, 400 years ago, in 1616. The performance was a truly multi-sensory affair, and of course had a cross-curricular element to it, with the wordings of literary masterpieces both being shown off. We were launched into the imaginary dream of Lu Sheng. Through his dream he enjoys aspirations of rank and honour. Later he warns us, ‘when I went after high rank, it was like plucking the infinitely feathered chicken’. On the approach to his execution, he is taunted, ‘where is your great funeral, only a fool would expect one’, and is also put down with, ‘why are we here splitting hairs when soon you won’t even have a head’. Meanwhile, Shakespeare adds, ‘look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent underneath it.’ Truly lessons in life for us all, and all packaged in an exhilarating piece that took us all out of our comfort zones and gave us a developed awareness of not only Shakespearean classics but in particular, the masterful Chinese literature of the same era – Alex Ferraby (Mandarin teacher and Head of MFLat Seven Kings School)

µƒ5Some students from Seven Kings High School went to a play called ‘The Shakespearean Handan dream.’  The play was effectively put into motion by actors from China and England. The play was quite loud and attention grabbing as the Chinese actors were speaking loudly alongside the English actors. The costumes were all bright and different to us which made us pay even more attention to the play. What I liked about the play was the way it was positioned and how the Chinese actors’ actions showed what they were trying to say. Another thing I liked was how they used objects to symbolise the animals they were riding on. However they could improve the play by making it clearer that Lu sheng entered a dream. This would help the audience to understand the play even more – Kush (Year 9)

I thought that the play was exceptionally put together and had an absolutely astonishing, creative concept mixing both the British and Chinese cultures. This led to making an absolute masterpiece of drama. One problem facing this exceptional play is that the translator was hidden so half the audience could not see it, meaning most children that went could not understand the Chinese part of the play – Ilyas (Year 9)

The English/mandarin trip had a strange plot that was confusing however intriguing. I enjoyed the play as it included Shakespeare who was a very important and inspiring playwright. Due to the strange twist with the Handan dream I was able to understand some of the characters whilst also picking up new advanced characters – Yousuf (Year 9)

The play The Shakespearean Handan Dream was very innovative and creative. The acting was very serious at times but at other times it was very funny so overall the play was great and I enjoyed it a lot. Thank You! – Arjun (Year 9)

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