One Man Bard
Revel's World of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare’s is a name universally recognised – children all over the world are educated about the legendary bard and his numerous renowned works and plays, and are of course familiar with the star-studded film adaptations as well. Even the Chinese, with a great many lettered poets of its own, understand the timeless appeal of the star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet (there’s even a popular national recreation of the story, entitled ‘Butterfly Lovers’). But this year, a different style of Shakespearean comi-tragedy returns to the theatre in Beijing – that of ‘Revel’s World of Shakespeare’, a one-man act that’s shaken up the stage and had curious locals and erudite expats tearing with laughter in the front row.
Based upon his own childhood experiences, American writer and director (and since 2002 PKU Institute of World Theatre’s artistic director) Joseph Graves’ ‘Revel’s World of Shakespeare’ is an entertaining look back at the time he spent at London’s Chelsea School for Boys, where he fell under the traumatising tutelage of a professor Clive Revel (who, as Graves would have us believe, saw Shakespeare as no less than God and as such subjected his students to a sort of near-maniacal worship). As Graves himself portrays all 12 characters in this autobiographical recounting, Revel’s World makes for an enthralling, thoroughly modern take on the by now age-old texts, and is well worth both the ensuing laugh and the cry.