The Silk Road
Written by Paul Sirett
Conceived and directed by David Tse Ka-Shing
Combining physical theatre, Chinese opera, puppetry and electronic music,
this production by Yellow Earth Theatre is an ambitious attempt to integrate
eastern and western cultures.
Does it succeed? On most levels, yes. But the half-filled Everyman suggests
that some people were not expecting it do so.
Those who stayed away missed little in the way of the bog standard acting
on display, but this was more than compensated for by the spectacular
dancing with long and colourful ribbons, the use of large puppets, the
parading of flags, but more especially the dynamic but at the same time
graceful confrontations between Shen Feng’s God of Thunder and Yanzhong
Huang's Queller of the Flood.
Furthermore there was the haunting presence of two sequences of Beijing
opera, with music composed by Suki Mok.
The fable centres on Ken (Nick Chee Ping Kellington), who is spurned
by his fiancée (Gongxin Lan). Wounded by this rejection he vows
to organise a sponsored run on the Silk Road, the ancient trading route
between Turkey and China, attempting to reach Beijing before the start
of the Olympics. It is hard to swallow but he is doing this in an attempt
to win her back.
He takes along with him three companions, who alternatively help and
hinder him in his quest. He carries with him a replica Olympic torch,
which is green in colour - green symbolising his concern about global
warming and climate change. Topical references are made in relation to
the devastating earthquakes and flooding in Sichuan, but there is no clear
evidence that they occurred because of either of those two reasons.
With the Olympics taking place in China in August there will be a deluge
of cultural events to commemorate the occasion - this production would
not go amiss in regard to that.