A milestone in Year of China-U.K. Cultural Exchange
2015-10-26 09:11:00

During this year of China-U.K. Cultural Exchange, the Chinese version of "War Horse" is stirring hearts in Beijing. This comes eight years after the play's National Theatre premiere in London.


When Michael Morpurgo wrote the children's book 'War Horse' more than 30 years ago, he might never have imagined how this story of friendship between man and horse would become an international phenomenon.


London's National Theatre premiered its stage production in October 2007, before moving the production to the West End. To date, it has been staged more than 4,000 times in nine countries. Now, the much acclaimed production is in China, and, in Chinese.







As director Alex Sims explains, the play's universal themes of love, friendship, and courage overcame any language and cultural barriers in mounting the Chinese version.


"You can tell when people are being truthful, when people are being real, and it doesn't matter what language it's in. You can feel the emotional connection. So it was a challenge I thought would be there, but ultimately has been very easy to overcome through, I think, a shared responsibility to tell the story, a shared enjoyment for theatre, a shared enjoyment for challenge," Sims said.


"War Horse" tells the story of the friendship between an English farm boy Albert and his courageous horse Joey, who are separated by World War I.


The show is the result of a nearly two-year collaboration between London's National Theatre and the National Theater of China. It was first revealed by British Prime Minister David Cameron during his state visit to China back in 2013.


Since then, more than a thousand actors auditioned to be the puppeteers for Joey, and 15 eventually made it to the final round. They have undergone vigorous training under the guidance of British directors, including living on a horse ranch for two weeks to observe how horses move, breathe, and even think.


"War Horse", the Chinese version, runs at Beijing's National Theater of China until the end of October. It will then embark on a national tour including stops in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.


This is the first major project undertaken between the National Theatres of Britain and China, but according to an agreement signed in August 2013, more long-term projects are to follow, including stage productions, training, and 'NT Live', whereby cinema audiences can enjoy live stage performances transmitted simultaneously to movie screens.


In this Year of Cultural Exchange between the two countries, "War Horse" stands as an important milestone of artistic collaboration.



Source:CCTV.com Editor:Rose