East is east and west is west; and the twain is all set to meet in theatre

The play has no single common language

10th August 2010: East is east and west is west; and the twain is all set to meet in groundbreaking international theatre collaboration.


Re-Orientations, a unique theatrical collaboration staged in London from 7 September, sees Border Crossings join forces with Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and artists from China, France, India, and Sweden.

The creation by an international company has no single common language, and has been developed over two years in London and Shanghai.

As it opens at Soho Theatre before touring to China and Sweden, leading Chinese theatre-makers for the first time are collaborating with their counterparts in the West and India to take in hand their changing society and its relationship to a globalised world.

The play takes a forthright and honest look at China’s single-child policy, and other issues including the decline of traditional Asian cultures, and at previously taboo subjects like homosexuality.

`Set in the aftermath of a young woman’s suicide, the play brings together apparently disconnected lives. A Chinese baby is abandoned by the roadside. Two Swedish actors play out sexual dramas, both onstage and off. A mother battles with tsunami relief in India until an unexpected phone call shatters her world and all the characters’ lives collide across continents.

`Performed in English, Mandarin, Swedish and Kannada, but fully comprehensible to a London audience, Re-Orientations draws from a broad range of performance traditions; from Swedish naturalism to the all-female Shanghai yue opera and the all-male Indian form Yakshagana. Stunning imagery collides with a powerful physical style and vivid storytelling in this multi-cultural and multi-media explosion of East-meets-West’.

Border Crossings’ patron Peter Sellars says this project embodies a hope for a mutually imagined future for all our changing worlds.

Artistic Director Michael Walling adds Re-Orientations is a fast-paced adventure that challenges cultural perceptions at every turn. It is exhilarating to experience such a mix of traditional and contemporary theatrical forms being used to bring together the personal stories of our own time.

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