The Centre for Asian Theatre & Dance in the Department of Drama, Theatre & Dance warmly invites you to:
Resurrection of Juliet
A visiting performance from the Shanghai Theatre Academy
Friday 2nd December, 7pm, Caryl Churchill Theatre.
The performance blends Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet with Chinese opera, specifically Tang Xianzu's sixteenth century masterpiece Peony Pavilion. Tang Xianzu died in 1616, the same year as Shakespeare, and the production unites both playwrights in the 400th anniversary of their deaths.
Romeo and Juliet are dead. They wander through hell seeking salvation, but their enduring love, even in death, moves the Judge of Hell. He seeks to restore the couple to life, but can find only one suitable body: Du Liniang, the protagonist of Peony Pavilion who has died because of her unrequited love for a scholar named Liu Mengmei. The Judge of Hell decrees that Romeo and Juliet must decide between themselves which of their spirits will be restored to life. Romeo arranges for Juliet to be resurrected, but, unable to separate the couple, the Judge of Hell decrees that Romeo will follow her into the mortal world as a ghost. Following a ritual service, Du Liniang's corpse returns to life (as it does in the original Peony Pavilion text). She finds her lover, Liu Mengmei, and tries to live a fulfilled life. Yet, Du's family find her actions strange, and believe her to be bewitched by another's soul. With the help of the ghost Romeo, the soul of Juliet in Du Liniang's body seeks out the real spirit of Du Liniang, so that the true body and spirit can be properly reunited. The play ends with Du Liniang's spirit returned to her own body, and Romeo and Juliet rewarded for their deeds by ascending to heaven hand-in-hand.