Snow in Midsummer

Yesterday we went to RSC Stratford to see this incredible Chinese Classic at the Swan Theatre. An all English speaking cast of chinese actors – even one Scottish accent seemed acceptable -so no sub titles needed.

Riveting, the play was powerful, challenging and had strong messages.  If you get a chance to see it – do!!!

Snow in Midsummer is a Chinese play written by Guan Hanqing about an injustice done to a girl named Dou E. Everything that happens in the play is like a domino effect starting from when her father was in debt and could not pay what he owed to Mrs. Cai so he sold his daughter to cancel out the debt.

Guan Hanqing (c. 1241–1320), sobriquet “the Oldman of the Studio”, is a very well-known writer in China in the Yuan Dynasty. He “holds a position similar to that of Shakespeare: a prolific writer during a pivotal historical era whose writings have been accorded unrivaled cultural status”

Executed for a murder she did not commit, young widow Dou Yi vows that if she is innocent, snow will fall in midsummer, her blood will stain the white ribbons above and never reach the ground, and a catastrophic drought will strike.

Three years later, a businesswoman visits the parched, locust-plagued town to take over an ailing factory. When her young daughter is tormented by an angry ghost, the new factory owner must expose the injustices Dou Yi suffered before the curse destroys every living thing.

A contemporary re-imagining of one of the most famous of Classical Chinese dramas, Snow in Midsummer is the first production in the RSC’s Chinese Translations Project, a cultural exchange bringing Chinese classics to a modern western audience.

Playwright Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig and director Justin Audibert (The Jew of Malta, 2015) breathe new life into this ancient story, haunted by centuries of retelling.

Please note this play contains some strong language and scenes of violence