Cao Yu’s Thunderstorm, written in 1933 when he was just 23 while studying western theatre and arts at Qinghua University, was the first of his eight plays. Set in the feudal society of China in the 1920s, the tragedy follows the complicated love entanglements in (and within) the Zhou family. Thunderstorm made Cao’s name by spotlighting incest and premarital pregnancy, challenged the conservative male-dominated society of the time, while reflecting the desire for societal change that had grown up during the revolutionary movements of post-WW1 China. The play has been adapted into six films, including Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). It was probably inevitable that it would one day be adapted for dance.
Lawrence Olivier Award-winning Bangladeshi-English choreographer Akram Khan brought his latest—and last—solo dance production Xenos to Hong Kong on 15 and 16 November. Meaning “stranger” in Greek, Xenos—commissioned by the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary—has haunted global audiences by evoking war images through dance.