SNOW IN MIDSUMMER. By Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig. London: Bloomsbury [Methuen Drama], 2017. Paperback, $14.95. Snow in Midsummer is a contemporary rewrite of the Chinese Yuan period zaju Injustice Done to Dou E, which was staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in March 2017. The Royal Shakespeare Company commissioned Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig to adapt the thirteenth century work, giving it a contemporary spin. Michael Billington, reviewing it in The Guardian, “found the initially perplexing narrative grew on me as the evening progressed” and globalization, patriarchy, climate change and other issues interacted. The revenge play is given a contemporary context. The reader is taken to a liminal space where soap opera, ghost play, and courtroom drama intersect, with contemporary activism added. Thunderstorm (Cao Yu) and Ghosts (Ibsen) seem to form models to the work as well. The ideas are interestingly chosen but do not fit precisely on the page, although they might be fun to stage. The overall project seeks to educate Western audiences about the Chinese classic while at the same time it creates a contemporary piece concerning organ sales. The reviewer of the production noted that Justin Audibert’s staging and Lily Arnold’s design supported the premise of a performance
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 13, 2019
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