The opening of the exhibition titled “Dialogue Across Time and Space” in Commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the Deaths of Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu was held in the China Cultural Centre in Sydney (CCCSYD) on 8th September.
As one of the CCCSYD’s major exhibitions dedicated to an enhanced understanding of Chinese culture through literature, this exhibition aims to celebrate the great contribution and legacies of both Shakespeare and his Chinese contemporary Tang Xianzu, a most renowned playwright in China whose works also exert a global influence.
“Shakespeare and Tang’s works, vivid epitomes of the society and culture at that time, exert profound influence till today”, said Mrs. Zhao Li, Director of CCCSYD.
“We are having this exhibition not only to observe the great contribution and legacies of the two masters, but also explore the cultural backgrounds, ways of life and philosophies of the 16th and 17th century in China and the UK; explore the similarities and differences between east and west”, she continued.
Featuring three major parts respectively: Times and Legends, Dream and Reality, I @Tang Xianzu, the exhibition on the one hand presents the historical contexts, life stories and comparative analysis of Tang and Shakepeare’s major works; on the other hand, it highlights the role of “dream” in their works and introduces Tang’s most known work Peony Pavilion. In addition, visitors are also provided with an opportunity for interactions through VR gadgets, and encouraged to read their literary works.
“The sensual evocativeness of Tang Xianzu’s poetry with its nature allusiveness to love and its spiritual dimensions I find deeply inspiring”, said Bruce Crossman, Associate Professor in Music from Western Sydney University, whose recently composed large music-theatre work entitled Gentleness-Suddenness was inspired and based on Tang Xianzu’s Peony Pavilion.
Dr. Zhao Xiaohuan, Senior Lecturer in Chinese literature from the University of Sydney, also emphasised the “significance” of the event worldwide, with a focus on its importance regarding intercultural communication. He also introduced to the audience Tang’s idea about “the function and the art of performance”, as well as elements of “dream”, “love” and “resurrection” which are seen in both Shakespeare and Tang’s works, and of great symbolic meanings.
In concurrence with the exhibition, a panel entitled “Dialogue Across Time and Space”, a joint initiative of CCCSYD and CSC (University of Sydney), will be organised in commemoration of these two literary legends.
The panel is expected to re-tell the life stories, social contexts, major works and thoughts of these two masters, and shed light on the distinctions and similarities between Western and Eastern cultures, philosophies and values of the 16th and 17th century.
Panelists of the event will include Emeritus Professor Colin Mackerras, specialist in Chinese drama; Bruce Crossman, Associate Professor on music from the Western Sydney University who composed works inspired by Tang Xianzu’s Peony Pavilion; Director Xiaoying Wang, Vice President of the National Theatre Company of China, who directed Shakespeare’s play Richard III and was invited on many occasions to show his works in London; Mr. Jianping Ou, a renowned scholar with extensive studies on Eastern and Western dance, with a particular focus on the dance works of Shakespeare’s plays.
“Dialogue Across Time and Space” will be on display in CCCSYD from 9th to 30th September.