21st Century 8-30-2006
Director Uses Shakespeare to Discuss Modern Problems
Luo Jiajia (21st Staff)
The 2006 College Theatre Festival of China will lower the curtain on August 31. Among the 32 plays, Hamletism, directed by Wang Chong, a graduate theatre student at University of Hawaii in the U.S., gives the audience some fresh ideas about theatre. The costume and setting cost very low. Four performers are dressed in white shirts and black trousers. Their conversations are made up of lines from Shakespeare’s original script. But Wang’s Hamletism is not about Hamlet, but about the modern world: sexual relationships, globalization, war, and people struggling with loneliness. "Hamletism is not about Hamlet, the prince who takes revenge for his killed father. What I’m doing is trying to connect the dated play to the modern world,” Wang explains.
21st: How do you connect Hamlet with the contemporary world?
Wang: I let my actor deliver Hamlet and Ophelia’s conversation while watching TV, as a solo scene. The kind of innocent love they have becomes the stereotyped sexual affair on mass media, and the man watching TV finally realizes his loneliness when he shouts, “To a nunnery, go.”
21st: Why do you think people still need theatre?
Wang: People need to express their thoughts through theatre, to communicate in theatre, and to be watched on stage. Theatre has its own unique function, thus can’t be replaced by TV.
21st: Is a play created to reach the audience or express your inner thoughts?
Wang: Both are crucial. I don’t think my position as a director is higher than that of my audience. I never force them to understand me. Instead, I have been trying my best to provide only materials and provoke my audience to think on their own. This is the way I communicate with them.