She grew up shy and reserved, but the Chinese director learned to love the theater after seven years studying Peking Opera, she tells Chen Jie.
Director Tian Qinxin at a rehearsal of her latest play Romeo and Juliet. Xie Fei / For China Daily
Before going to watch the opera La Boheme at the Metropolitan on April 2, director Tian Qinxin walked along bustling Broadway like any first-time tourist in New York. As she dropped into a small book store, a poster on the wall caught her eye immediately. It was Ute Lemper in the musical Chicago.
Lemper played the role of Velma Kelly in Chicago in both London and New York, winning the Laurence Olivier Award for her performance. Tian loves her so much that she wanted to buy the poster. "Sorry," the owner said. It was his own treasure collected eight years ago. But he allowed her to take a photo.
That pleasant surprise Tian had at the small store was just one highlight of her first trip to the United States.
Tian used to believe she had a certain bond with the United Kingdom, because it was the first foreign country she visited in 1993. She returned there several times and watched a lot of shows, and she also worked on a young playwright workshop project with the National Theatre of Scotland in 2012.
But she was "overwhelmed" when she realized that two of her major works would run in the US almost at the same time. One represented China in a show at the prestigious Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. The other toured Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston and New York for seven shows.
From March 27 to 30 at the Kennedy Center, her production Green Snake immersed the audience in an old romantic Chinese myth that involves two female snake spirits who take human form and respectively fall in love with a scholar and a monk. The result leaves both goddess and mortals beyond redemption.