Entrusting the Bible’s Decalogue to an artist from China might seem a rather mad idea, but given the overwhelmingly instrumental treatment of the fundamentals of Judeo-Christian culture, perhaps this is the only way to get to the heart of things? Tian Gebing takes on the Ten Commandments, the Book of Exodus, and faith in God. The concepts and symbols of “chosen nation,” “sin,” “divine wrath,” “the burning bush,” “water from the rock,” “the parting of the seas,” “the golden calf,” all of which have very concrete significance for the European, is material that sparks his imagination. This Chinese avant-garde director, a co-founder of Paper Tiger Theatre Studio, draws from various texts, only some of which are literary, as well as court transcripts, operating manuals, and press articles. Movement and dance, co-created by actress and choreographer Yanan Wang, are crucial parts of his play. The result of his intensive work with the Stary Theater ensemble is an unusual, dynamic, and dazzling spectacle.
To my eye, this piece is a masterpiece as a SPECTACLE, as a thing to be seen. I write ‘to my eye’ because it seems ‘I haven’t got it with my brain’ (Demirski, ‘Undivine Comedy’). I felt great watching it, afterward, and even the next day. In other words, in terms of “critical theater” it must have been a poor production, because a work of high artistic merits ought to exhaust the viewer, to assault his ears.
Michał Stroiński, e-teatr