English-language version The Golden Dragon set for Edinburgh 2011
Rabble rouser that isn’t afraid to shake-up convention
This article is from 2011.
‘It’s really sexy! It’s got naked women and lots of blood!’ Director Ramin Gray has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek as he attempts to sell his English-language version of celebrated contemporary German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s The Golden Dragon, because of course this isn’t just a titillating rabble-rouser, is it?
‘It’s full of playfulness, imagination and a really profound humanity,’ says Gray of the Asian takeaway-set ensemble piece. ‘There’s already a lot of very formal theatre work about the issue of migration, which is a huge topic which affects us all, but this play doesn’t do anything as banal as cast judgement on it. What it does is allow the audience to emotionally engage with other lives, it gives them something to think about and feel. It’s not a political play.’
It’s also certainly a piece that isn’t afraid to shake up convention, with an ensemble cast of five white actors playing 17 Asian characters – quite deliberately, says Gray. ‘However much a white actor tries to be Chinese they will always fail, just as an actor will always fail at being Macbeth or a murderer or whatever. But it’s the attempt to be something else that’s most interesting here.’
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, 5-28 Aug (not 8, 15, 22), times vary, £15–£17 (£11–£12). Preview 4 Aug, £11 (£6).