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Shanghai Ballet Company presents(More information on Broadway World)
Wed 14 Aug 13 - Sat 17 Aug 13 19.30 h
For five performances only the Shanghai Ballet Company are set to make their highly anticipated UK debut with performances of Jane Eyre, an original, innovative ballet production based on Charlotte Brontë’s famous novel. In a bold re-interpretation, choreographer Patrick de Bana’s production puts the character of Bertha Mason, Edward Rochester’s ‘mad’ wife, famously locked up in the attic for most of the novel, firmly centre stage along with her two-timing husband and the novel’s heroine, Jane Eyre.
With strong performances from the three lead characters – Ji Pingping (Jane), Fan Xiaofeng (Bertha), Wu Husheng (Rochester), gigantic, atmospheric sets and lighting, dramatic choreography and an eye-catching costume design that cleverly melds Victorian costume with the 21st century, Jane Eyre is a true break from tradition and sets Shanghai Ballet Company on a bold trajectory towards their London debut.
A classic piece of Victorian fiction, Jane Eyre is a hugely popular book in China with its tale of female empowerment, romance, tragedy and redemption; in 2009 it was performed at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Beijing and then at Shanghai Grand Theatre as a play; scriptwriter Yu Rongjun had wanted to develop Bertha's character but the idea was considered too unconventional. Step in Shanghai Ballet Director Xin Lili: "After seeing the play I had an idea that Jane Eyre could work very well as a modern ballet; elegant and graceful. The conversations were just so suitable for pas de deux. I thought it would be wonderful if we could present it as an innovative ballet with universal appeal and one that would simultaneously strengthen Shanghai Ballet's modern repertoire."
Xin Lili discussed the idea with Shanghai Grand Theater and with Yu Rongjun, and gradually gathered together the creative team - including celebrated choreographer Patrick de Bana, writer Yu Rongjun, and set/costume designer Jérôme Kaplan - to discuss the plot, design and casting before getting the production underway.
Patrick de Bana views Rochester less as a hero and more as a villain; a man who ignores his poor mad wife so he can attempt to marry Jane. "The only victim in this story is Bertha," he says. "All she wants is love. We don't know under what circumstances she became mad, but since then she has been locked up like an animal in a cage; that's why I wanted to give her some credit and make her important. Bertha Mason is definitely my heroine."