Kingdom of Desire, a Peking Opera adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, will play at 7:30 pm, May 5-6 at the Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, 9 Tianqiao South Street, Xicheng district, Beijing.
Kingdom of Desire is the first of the Contemporary Legend Theatre’s many Peking Opera versions of Shakespearean plays.
In Kingdom of Desire,Wu Hsing-kuo combines traditional performing techniques with Western-style storytelling. Wu says, “Macbeth is full of desire and ambition, reflecting attributes of all humans. It is timeless and cross-cultural.”
Wu Hsing-kuo is a Taiwanese actor of the silver screen and theater, known for both his performance of complex movie roles as much as for his innovative adaptations of Western classics into traditional Peking Opera.
Wu was trained in classical Peking Opera since the age of 11 in Taiwan‘s state-run Fu-Hsing Chinese Opera School, specializing in wu sheng (male martial) roles. He was admitted with honors into the Theatre Department of Chinese Culture University in Taipei, trained under master Chou Cheng-jung (Zhou Zheng-rong) and became leading dancer of Lin Hwai-min‘s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre. However, his teacher Chou Cheng-jung (Zhou Zheng-rong) considered him as a pretentious student who didn’t focus on study and finally abandoned him in 1989. Since then, Chou Cheng-jung (died in 2000) never met him anymore. In addition, most of the traditional Chinese opera audiences do not recognize him as a qualified actor.
In 1986, he and a group of enthusiastic friends founded the Contemporary Legend Theatre in Taipei, seeking to revitalize traditional Chinese theatre by adapting Western classical plays to the style and techniques of Peking Opera. He was the leading actor and director of four Shakespeare adaptations, including the critically acclaimed Kingdom of Desire, an adaptation of Macbeth, and King Lear in which Wu plays all the parts.
Wu is currently artistic director of the Contemporary Legend Theatre, and continues to take on challenging roles in both the modern theatre and Chinese Opera. He crosses the fields of traditional opera, dance, modern theatre, cinema, and television.