Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt Holds Third German College Student Drama Festival

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt [Time]    2019-06-27 17:34:52 

From June 7th to 8th, local time, the Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt held the Third German College Student Chinese Drama Festival. The event attracted not only students from many German universities, but also a theater troupe from the Centre Culturel de Chine à Paris.

The festival included two parts: expert lectures and student performances. On the evening of June 7th, Karl-Heiz Pohl, a famous sinologist and professor of the Institute of Sinology at University of Trier, delivered a lecture on "A Dream in Red Mansions from the Perspective of Buddhism", kicking off this festival.

Karl-Heinz Pohl delivering a lecture

During the lecture, Pohl first introduced his German audience to the importance of A Dream in Red Mansions in the Chinese literary history, its status quo of German translations, its gist, the ways and angles to read and study the story, and the origin and development of Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism. He explained the the profound core concepts of Foism such as “Form”, “Sunyata”, “Suchness”, “Integration” in simple terms to his audience. And then, Pohl interpreted the fate of characters and the ups and downs of the four big families, guiding the audience as well as the actors from Fú Troupe to further understand the masterpiece.

On the morning of June 8th, Ding Sheng, the professor of Shanghai Theatre Academy, in his lecture “the Two Westernization and Two Cultural Transformations of Modern Chinese Drama”, made clear the developing pattern of modern Chinese drama in terms of the exchanges between China and the West and the cultural transformation of Chinese drama creation, helping the German and French students better understand the historical background and cultural characteristics of the classic works of contemporary Chinese drama.

Prof.Ding Sheng delivering a speech

Afterwards, Liu Hui, an quyi performance artist living in Germany and the president of the German Chinese Folk Music Association, presented the students a lecture on “From Screenplay to the Stage: Thoughts on Chinese Straight Play Performance” and brought them a wonderful workshop. He began with the correct pronunciation and enunciation by enumerating confusing consonants in English, German and Chinese and taught pronunciation skills on the stage. Furthermore, his discussions of segmentations of script lines, the acting style and norms on the stage were well received by the audience.

Liu Hui delivering a speech

The afternoon of June 8th witnessed the highlight of this festival. Students of the Sunshine Drama Club, the Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East and East Asia - Sinology, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlagen-Nürnberg (FAU), appeared first with their lively vernacular stories that were adapted from such traditional Chinese idioms as “wholly absorbed”, “plug one’s eyes while stealing a bell” and “add the finishing touch”. Their straightaway performance, together with popular Internet slangs, mobile expressions and hilarious body movements, showed the German audience the great charm of Chinese idioms.

The play of “Idiom Stories”

After the idiom stories, students of Fú Troupe of the Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt played “The Happy Match of Gold and Jade”, the last chapter of A Dream in Red Mansions. During their one year’s preparation, they read up this monumental work, memorized and recited the obscure lines, repeatedly corrected their pronunciation and watched different versions of the work, such as Shaoxing Operas and TV series, trying to fathom the psychology and facial expressions of the characters. With unremitting efforts, they managed to feast the audience with a full interpretation of classic plots of this masterpiece on the stage. Their performance resonated with the audience, absorbing them into the characters’ vicissitudes of life.

Excerpts from drama, A Dream in Red Mansions

Ding Sheng and Liu Hui made their comments on both performances. With high appreciation, they praised the students for their exquisite command of the details and to-the-point plots. They also expressed greater expectation to the growth of students’ troupes as the performers paid attention to interacting and complementing with each other on the same stage.

After comments, troupes of the Centre Cultural de Chine à Paris and German Peking Opera Association played medleys of Pingju and Peking Opera. In the Drama Festival held by the Confucius Institute in German, the performance group of Centre Culturel made its debut with such attractive plays as “Flower the Matchmaker”, “Liu Qiaoer” and “Qin Xianglian”, frequently winning enthusiastic applause. Moreover, the performance of "matchmaker" in “Flower the Matchmaker” was in facsimile, with experts acclaiming “she seems the very image of Zhao Lirong, a famous Chinese skit and sitcom actress”. The actors of German Peking Opera Association maintained a high level performance for the audience, presenting the classic Peking Operas like “Picking up the Jade Bracelet”, “Chasing After Han Xin”, “Silang Visiting His Mother” and “The Stratagem of Empty City”, fully satisfying the audience.

Peking opera “Picking up the Jade Bracelet”

Compared with previous festivals, this year’s enjoys a larger scale of performances, a larger number of participating groups and a wider range of influence. The Confucius Institute at Goethe University Frankfurt will continue to push forward this brand project to provide a platform for German and even European Chinese learners and Chinese cultural enthusiasts to communicate and learn from one another.