There’s a Buddhist temple at the top of a mountain called Tiantong Temple. In this temple, there [are] more than 100 monks. A boy named Yuan was sent to this temple when he was 5 [years old]. When he was 8 years old, he started to learn to chant sutras [and to] pay respect for Buddha with the other monks.
We will soon be welcoming in the Year of the Dragon. In Eastern philosophy, the Dragon, a divine beast, is said to be a deliverer of good fortune and a master of authority. Chinese New Year, or Spring Festival, begins on January 23, so we are now in the time between the solar and lunar new year.
[The Tempest poster advertisement]
Our last update was about a month ago…It feels in some ways like a year. The Tempest showcased the talents of 16 English majors who all dedicated the past three months of their lives to this production. Their work paid off in two successful evenings of Shakespeare at Guizhou University.
We spent our Thanksgiving Holiday on a 25 hour train ride from Guiyang to Hangzhou. We traveled with three student actors and our Chinese colleague, Cathy. While we are doing the full version of The Tempest, three actors are eligible to participate in the Chinese Universities Shakespeare Festival with a 20 minute cutting of the play. A very wealthy Hong Kong business man set up a trust about ten years ago to support the learning and performing of Shakespeare throughout China. To this end, each year universities send three actors and a teacher on an all expense paid trip to either Hangzhou or Hong Kong to meet with a Shakespeare specialist. This year our students worked with Elizabeth O’Connor from Christ Church, New Zealand’s Court Theatre.
Our train rolled into the station at 12:30am Monday morning, after a long weekend in the Northwest Corner of Guizhou province. We spent the weekend on Caohai Lake watching birds, visiting a temple, and eating marvelous food!