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Stratford-upon-Avon celebrates Shakespeare's legacy

Reporter: Wang Wan 丨 CCTV.com

04-27-2016 00:28 BJT

Shakespeare lovers from around the world came to the English town of Stratford-upon-Avon, donned their Elizabethan-era costumes, and put on theatrical masks to honour the Bard over the weekend. But Shakespeare is not the only play-writing legend who died 400 years ago.

Stratford-upon-Avon celebrates Shakespeare

Stratford-upon-Avon celebrates Shakespeare's legacy

To the toll of a funeral bell, spectators threw rosemary along the Walk of Remembrance.

And, in a first among Shakespeare commemorations, almost ten thousand people put on a Shakespeare mask at the same moment and called out “Three Cheers!”

A New Orleans jazz band from the U.S. joined the parade to pay tribute on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

Visitors from around the globe wore costumes for the occasion. Some had even designed and made the costumes themselves.

''It's traditional from his time, from the Tudor period, Shakespearean time. His wife, and maybe his daughters, would have worn something like this," said Michelle Busti, theater teacher.

"It’s hard to rock around because it’s so long, and you have to pick it up, and I made it just from pieces of paper, and then I cut out the fabric and then I sewed it and put it in a suitcase and brought it here."

This anniversary is all the more special in that it coincides with commemorations of Shakespeare's contemporary a world away, the Chinese playwright Tang Xianzu.

On Friday, delegates from Tang's hometown of Fuzhou brought a statue of both Shakespeare and Tang to Stratford-upon-Avon, to honour the two literary greats who died in the same year.

Meanwhile, one of the most classic pieces of traditional Chinese opera, 'Peony Pavilion', came all the way from Tang’s hometown to Shakespeare’s hometown.

One of the most classic pieces of traditional Chinese opera, 'Peony Pavilion', came all the way from Tang’s hometown to Shakespeare’s hometown.

Government officials and drama experts from China and the U.K. discussed the past and present of Shakespeare and Tang.

''We do an adaption of Tang Xianzu’s 'Nanke Ji'. And around this production, we have organised lectures, workshops," said Professor Li Ruru, Chinese Theater Studies, Leeds University.

"And also, Fuzhou is coming to perform for us on the 26th of April, so all these activities and then our production will be performed in Leeds, and then in Edinburgh, and then in Shanghai, Beijing, and Fuzhou. And through doing all these things, we hope we will contribute to the understanding of Tang Xianzu in the world."

What’s more, at Shakespeare’s birthplace, adaptations of 'Peony Pavilion' and another Tang masterpiece 'The Purple Hairpin' will be performed for a few days in the garden.

In 1616, in China, Tang Xianzu, the most prominent playwright in the Ming Dynasty, passed away. Almost six thousand miles away, William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright in English literature, also passed away the same year.

Four hundred years after the death of the two great literary giants, Tang's Opera is onstage in Shakespeare's hometown.

As Shakespeare put it, in his most famous sonnet, "So long as man can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this…" Thus, great works of art will live on.

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