Dream and Life in Metamorphosis by Beijing Opera

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Theatre has historically served as a space of dreaming, a place of escape or a retreat, a reflection of reality, and simulacra of existence. From Strindberg (The Dream Play), to Chuang-Tze (who has building his nice dream in jail to die one night before to escape from beheading ordered by the bad emperor the next morning), to Shakespeare (AMidsummer Night’s Dream), to Calderón (Life is a Dream), to Wu Hsing-Kuo(Metamorphosis) to any of hundreds more, playwrights and directors have used the stage to make the ethereal, metaphysical and philosophical visible. Wu, Artistic Director and Lead Actor of The Contemporary Legend Theatre, theatrically adapts Franz Kafka’s short fiction Die Verwanglung (The Metamorphosis) in which the protagonist wakes up from his dream to find out in shock that he becomes a big insect, and represents this story viare the atricalization. Wu’s solo performance (in which he plays multiple roles) in the Edinburgh International Festival in summer 2013 received considerable critical acclaims, reviews and TV interviews. In Metamorphosis (National Theater, Taipei, Dec. 2013), Wustages this whole story about the metamorphosed big insect by spectacular costume, performing in Beijing Opera, to manifest the metaphysical existential pain and meaning of life. As Wu’s highly praised Kingdom of Desire (adapted from Macbeth) and Lear Is Here (adapted from King Lear), we look forward to how Wu’s new work Metamorphosis represents the desert if no compassion. Alternatively, theater makes audiences “sleepno more,” to face the reality, human nature, such as selfishness and carelessness, and the existence and alienation in Existentialism.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2015


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