Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blue Dragon

It was a pretty weird experience to watch Robert Lepage's The Blue Dragon at the Barbican on Monday. It begins with a short Prologue, which is followed by a dance sequence in front of projected titles. Then there is a multi-lingual scene set in Shanghai's Pudong Airport.... Sound familiar?

This is, of course, not plagiarism in either direction but synchronicity - there are certain subjects in the air which artists of particular outlooks feel drawn to. All the same, it was a bit of a surprise! After Pudong, the play moves onto a different route, although the centrality of foreign visitors in contemporary Shanghai kept Dis-Orientations and Re-Orientations very much in my mind. The Blue Dragon is an intimate, lyrical, surprisingly linear and naturalistic three-hander about mid-life crisis, the failure of art and love, parenthood, and China. All themes very close to our own. But the final result is very different as a theatrical experience.

On the way home, I found myself jotting down notes for our next co-production with SDAC. But, I'm happy to say, they were inspired more by the differences from Robert's work than by the similarities.

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