by Ahmed Shfiq
CAIRO, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Egyptian audiences were on the edge of their seats for two hours, watching Chinese artists performing the famous drama Prince of Lanling in Cairo's Balloon Theater on Friday evening.
The Prince of Lanling was staged as part of the 25th Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre which runs for 11 days between Sept. 10 and 21.
"Today's play was really good, not only because of its theme and the great actors and actresses, but also because it is the first time that I watched a Chinese artistic work live," Mariam Ahmed, a student at English Language College, told Xinhua after the show.
To help audiences better enjoy the play, a large screen was placed alongside the stage to display English translations of the actors' lines.
"This was smart and helpful as most of the audiences do not speak Chinese," the young lady, who came to the show with her sisters and friends, said.
Ahmed said she is addicted to Chinese drama and movies, and that she watches them online with English subtitles.
"I am very much addicted to the Chinese culture. I even have Chinese friends who are studying and living in Cairo," she said.
Ahmed pointed out that art is the best way to learn more about other cultures, "that is why I like to watch Chinese drama and movies. They are my gateway to China."
She spoke highly of the play which depicted a historical story, saying the performance was quite melodramatic with strong emotion in it.
The Prince of Lanling is adapted from the legendary story of the famous Prince of Lanling of the Northern Qi Dynasty, but with a revised, if not brand-new storyline.
In this new version, the Prince of Lanling used the disguise as a weak and even feminine prince to hide his true nature because he witnessed the murder of his father.
In order to wake the lion inside him, his mother, the queen, gave him what was left by his father, a mask of the sacred beast.
Lanling, upon wearing the mask, would magically bring out the masculinity, and become invincible on the battlefield. But at the same time, it also brought out the cold, ruthless, tyrannical human nature in him.
In the end, his mother sacrificed herself to help Lanling bid farewell to the lost and find his true self.
After upgrading the relations between China and Egypt to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2014, cultural exchange has been at its peak as artists, cultural and musical delegations have paid frequent visits.
Through such cultural moves, both countries intend to boost friendly ties under the Belt and Road Initiative, which certainly promotes understanding of each other and wakes up the ancient civilizations in the new era.
"Art is now in the process of integration across the world, we want to bring Chinese art, culture and Chinese people's attitudes towards art to the outside world as much as possible," Zhang Haoyue, actor of the National Theatre of China and a leading actor of the play, told Xinhua.
Zhang, who performed before in Egypt, said that art communication is very important, adding that his team have participated in the London Olympic Games.
The actor said performers of the China's National Theatre have been to lots of countries, including the United States, Hungary and France, adding that this is the first time the performers brought this play, created in 2017, to a foreign country.
"The story of the Prince of Lanling is well known in China," he said, adding that "we want to let foreign audience have a taste of Chinese culture through this play."