A CONTROVERSED play that was canceled due to concerns about racism arrives in Worcestershire.
Mark Kitto’s Chinese boxing was canceled by the Sheringham Little Theater in Norfolk due to its anti-racism policy.
The show uses the story of the seat of the Foreign Legation in Beijing (Peking) in 1900 to explain why China and the West still do not understand each other.
However, the show is scheduled to take place at Coach House Theater in Malvern on July 24 and Huntingdon Hall in Worcester on July 25.
It begins with a lecture at the Worcestershire Royal Asiatic Society in 1912, the year of the founding of the Republic of China.
Sir Claude MacDonald, former Minister Plenipotentiary in Beijing describes his experience at the Legation Defense Command and prepares to tackle the greater “Chinese Question”, when, under a theatrical license – the audience is brought back in Beijing in 1900 and has this question answered directly by the General-in-Chief of the Empress of China.
The general doesn’t mince his words, addressing what he assumes to be a foreign delegation.
He also quickly switched from Chinese to English to their benefit.
Questions had been raised about a Western actor playing a Chinese role.
Mark Kitto, who writes and performs, and who has lived in China for 18 years, is fluent in the language, has a Chinese family and has said he has a “sincere intention” to give a hard-hitting account of “the other side “of the argument.
He said: “I play the roles on either side amplifies the hypocrisy of the West.
“It really makes people wake up and think and I’m really careful how I do it.
“I have had wonderful and very encouraging feedback from the public, especially from those who have expressed their initial concern.”
Former cabinet minister Gillian Shepherd, who watched a recent performance, said: “Everyone should see this.”
As Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian and Radio 4 said: “A stimulating and original show – I learned tons.
The show is followed by a question-and-answer session on China and the West today.
Mark has insightful ideas from his many years of involvement with the country.
‘Chinese Boxing’ is at Coach House Theater Malvern on July 24, www.malvern-theatres.co.uk and Huntingdon Hall Worcester on July 25, www.worcesterlive.co.uk