The Taiwan Bangzi Company was in town this past week with their Henan Chinese opera adaptation of “The Merchant of Venice” called “Bond.”
I always love Chinese opera once I am there, but I have to drag myself in there because in my mind Chinese opera is categorized as “good for me.” Chinese opera is beautiful, stylized, and rich with meaning; but it is also layered with interpretation and code. My children wriggle their fingers at each other in the kitchen to show how Chinese opera singers represent anger.
But for “Merchant of Venice.”
I also love Shakespeare, but, again, resist it somewhat because it also falls into the “good for me” category. The language is beautiful, the meaning is not easy or obvious. My sixth-grade daughter Niu Niu recites, then laughs, “No, sir, I do not bite my thumb at you, sir, but I bite my thumb, sir.”
So the children and I leave the beautiful spring sunshine and rush into the cool darkness of Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre just before curtain where we meet under new names Bassanio, Antonio, Portia, Gratiano, Nerissa of medieval Cathay; and the (presumably pre-Islam) Saracen Shylock from distant deserts. I whisper a steady stream of plot and dialogue into seven-year-old Little Brother’s ear because he cannot yet read the supertitles.
click on link for more Lessons from Taiwan Bangzi Company's Chinese Opera adaptation of Merchant of Venice, "Bond" - AnnArbor.com