For the first time, leading Chinese theatre-makers are collaborating with their counterparts in the West and India to address their changing society and its relationship to a globalised world. The play takes a frank look at China’s single-child policy, at the decline of traditional Asian cultures, and at previously taboo subjects like homosexuality.
Set in the aftermath of a young woman’s suicide, the play brings together apparently disconnected lives. A Chinese baby is abandoned by the roadside. Two Swedish actors play out sexual dramas, both onstage and off. A mother battles with tsunami relief in India until an unexpected phone call shatters her world and all the characters’ lives collide across continents.
Performed in English, Mandarin, Swedish and Kannada, but fully comprehensible to a London audience, Re-Orientations draws from a broad range of performance traditions; from Swedish naturalism to the all-female Shanghai yue opera and the all-male Indian form Yakshagana. Stunning imagery collides with a powerful physical style and vivid storytelling in this multi-cultural and multi-media explosion of East-meets-West.
Border Crossings’ Patron Peter Sellars says: “This project embodies a hope for a mutually imagined future for all our changing worlds”.
Artistic Director Michael Walling says: “Re-Orientations is a fast-paced adventure that challenges cultural perceptions at every turn. It is exhilarating to experience such a mix of traditional and contemporary theatrical forms being used to bring together the personal stories of our own time”.
Re-Orientations is the third in a series of devised plays which are linked thematically, but which stand alone as inspiring pieces of intercultural theatre. Orientations played at Oval House in 2003/4 (‘Rich… versatile… as many-limbed as a Hindu god’ Time Out) followed by Dis-Orientations at Riverside Studios in 2006 (‘gloriously chaotic… brilliantly executed… a culture shock worth experiencing’ Time Out).