iChongqing Title

Chinese Teenagers Performed Judge Dee, a Traditional Play in English

By MU XUELINICHONGQING|Aug 17,2022

Chongqing– On the evening of August 14, a group of talented young Chinese actors and actresses performed a fascinating traditional Chinese play in English on the ancient stage of Huguang Guild Hall. The program was one of the cultural exchange activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations at the ambassadorial level between China and the Netherlands in Chongqing.

The deputy consul of the Netherlands Consulate-General in Chongqing (Photo/ Mu Xuelin)

The deputy consul of the Netherlands Consulate-General in Chongqing, Pim Gerard Sjef Ten Haaf, delivered a speech at the event. The play was adapted from a classic detective novel, Judge Dee, created by a Dutch diplomat and Sinologist (Chinese scholars), Robert van Gulik. According to Pim’s introduction, Van Gulik was an avid Sinologist and enjoyed reading about Di Renjie. After his posting in Chongqing, he returned to the Netherlands. Based on the original Chinese novel about Di Renjie, he wrote a series of detective books about Di Renjie that became bestsellers in the Netherlands and were translated into many different languages. When the cultural exchange between the Netherlands and China was still relatively limited, Robert van Gulik played a key role in familiarizing people with Chinese culture. He combined Chinese culture, literature, and Dutch penmanship to create a work of art for everyone to enjoy.  

Chinese teenagers playing at the stage (Photo/ Mu Xuelin)

During the performance, sixteen Chinese teenagers performed as Sino-Dutch Cultural Exchange ambassadors. Despite the intense summer heat, the eager young actors and actresses gave their all to their roles. With the young performers’ fluent and vivid dialogues, lively expressions, poised manners, and powerful emotions, the story unfolded in a way that allowed all viewers to relive gripping moments of breaking the case during the Tang Dynasty. Raucous applause was the best reward for their brilliant performance. Through their superb performance, the audience could understand how the words created by Van Gulik have become a cultural bridge connecting China and the Netherlands.

According to the organization, the sixteen teenagers had spent significant time exploring plots, memorizing scripts, and practicing their manners, expressions, and emotions for this performance. “This activity helps participants develop their cognition, emotion, and reasoning skills, as well as promote cultural exchanges between Chongqing and Netherlands,” said Joy, the founder of Smart Fun.

The activity was organized by Marphy’s Playhouse, co-organized by Chongqing Huguang Guild Hall and Smart Fun, and supported by the Netherlands Consulate-General in Chongqing.

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