Nanjing: About the production


[Sombre music plays] In 1937, the Japanese army invaded China and um as part of this invasion they took control of a city called Nanjing which at the time was the capital city of China. The Nanjing Massacre has become
notorious as a really brutal massacre. And so it’s become an event which is very emotionally raw in the consciousness of a lot of Chinese people and a lot of countries in that region. When Jude first sent her script to me um I was really intrigued by a lot of the stories within it that I just hadn’t ever heard before. It was really fascinating um to see it from completely
different perspective. I am British-Chinese um but I was born and raised in
this country so I’ve tended to work a lot with new writing. As somebody who comes from various different places and grew up in a particular time and place, I wanted to talk about how it made me feel personally Around the time that I was beginning to research the massacre the Arab Spring had taken place and then there was a civil war happening in Syria. And it felt like a lot of people across the world had no idea what to do about the fact that we all knew that people were being horribly massacred um and living in a war zone and fleeing and having nowhere to go. British people don’t often consider what their own history is in terms of dominating other cultures um how that might make other
people feel drawn to this country or not, um why this country might be really brilliantly and really beautifully a meeting place for people from all over the world. We sent the script to Michelle um who loved it and was incredibly supportive. There’s a quality in Nanjing that I’ve always really loved which is quite meditative. And even though it’s tackling big… some of those brutal themes and subject matter there’s a gentleness to how Jude invites the audience in. And it felt like that was a quality in the piece that would work really really well in the [Sam] Wanamaker [Playhouse] space. As a piece of new writing it feels like it fits into this um the world how Shakespeare’s writing it, which is the new writing of its time. And particularly in this piece which um examines life and history and politics of now so it’s a mirror for what’s going on in society around us. This is a piece of theatre in which I will play myself and I will talk about the world and I will um describe situations and will depict situations in a way that we hope will bring an audience together in a collective thought and feeling about the world that we live in.

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