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Monologue play creats a buzz on Beijing's stage

Monologue play creats a buzz on Beijing's stage


A life memory entangled with one of the greatest playwrights in the world...

A monologue that intrigues audiences, not only with lines of Shakespeare used in a surprising way, but also the natural and fluent performance by Joseph Graves...

In "Revel's World of Shakespeare," Graves magically weaves a wildly comedic and deeply moving tale of childhood confusion and exploration.

"It's very autobiographical. 90% of it was true..." said Joseph Graves, actor/playwright/director.

The story is revealed through Graves's recollection of Clive T. Revel, the headmaster of The Chelsea School for Boys in London where young Graves matriculated.

In the autobiographical play, Graves says his grandfather, who was a missionary, loved reading Shakespeare after work. His father, also a fan, inspired him to give Shakespeare a second chance.

As Graves says, Shakespeare came along very early in his life. And he has dedicated his whole life to the bard's work.

"I actually have done all of Shakespeare's plays..." Graves said.

Since his late teens, Graves has spent most of his adult life acting, directing and writing for theater and films, in Britain, the United States and many other countries.

And now this life is based in China. Graves, who comes from Arkansas, set the base for his theater dreams in China a decade ago. He works as the artistic director at Peking University's Institute of World Theater and Film.

"I met Prof. Cheng, who is the dean of foreign language school of 'beida'..." Graves said.

During his 12 years in China, a total of 94 plays or musicals have been brought to the stage. However, most universities don't have performing arts departments, so there is no budget for the plays he does with his students. Graves covers the expenses out of his own pocket.

Graves says he has read many books about China and watched shows adapted from traditional Chinese literature. This has made him believe that the future of musical theater is in China, as the country has a rich tradition, with hundreds of different genres of opera.

"I think once the growing pains are past..."Graves said.

Having spent all his life on stage, Graves says theater for him has never been just a career.

"Theater for me is just a way of life...confusions...and experience happened in the best moment...of theater," Graves said.

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