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Lost garden finds itself on stage

Updated: 2013-05-27 14:58
By Zhang Kun ( China Daily)

Lost garden finds itself on stage

South Korean pop idol Kim Tae-woo stars in musical The Lost Garden. [Photo/China Daily]

Irish writer Oscar Wilde's story of a mean-spirited giant has been adapted for the stage in what promises to be a musical theater spectacular. Zhang Kun reports from Shanghai.

Oscar Wilde's story of the Selfish Giant and his garden trapped in an endless winter will be brought to life in a musical theater production.

The Lost Garden will debut at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on June 8 and 9, before embarking on a global tour to Japan, the United States, South Korea and other countries.

The play will be the first musical to present at Mercedes-Benz Arena. The play has a creative team from five countries: China, South Korea, US, Italy and Japan.

Jack Lee, an American artist who has been active in the Asian music scene since 2005, will produce all the music in the play.

The musical arrangement is by Japanese musician Norihito Sumitomo, who has won a Japanese Academy Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Music".

The play has been choreographed by Italian Elisa Petrolo, who started her career in a production of Cats in Germany in 1998 and performed in musicals such as Hair, Notre Dame de Paris, and Romeo unt Juliet before turning to choreography in 2008.

South Korean director June Young-soh worked on the Asian tour of Notre Dame de Paris and received complaints from mothers, who were disappointed to find there was an age limit for the audience. "That's when I started to look for a story which would never have an age limit," June told China Daily.

Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish writer and poet. He was one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s. The play The Lost Garden was adapted from a story in Wilde's collection The Happy Prince and other Tales published in 1888.

Lost garden finds itself on stage

The Selfish Giant returns to his home to find children playing in his garden, and drives them away. His selfish behavior leads his garden into a perpetual winter, until children sneak back in through a hole in his wall, bringing spring back with them.

"The Selfish Giant has been a fairytale classic, but it's far more than a story for just children," says June. "It should be a good story for adults as well."

He has tried to intertwine the story with deeper meanings. "People who find those meanings are the people who are in need of those meanings," he says.

South Korean pop idol Kim Tae-woo will star in the show. Standing at almost 1.9 meters tall, Kim has the right height for the giant. Kim was a former member of the pop group G.O.D, and has pursued a solo career since 2006.

"Kim is a phenomenal vocalist," June says. "His being a star for many years has brought him loneliness and I like the fact that he could sympathize with the loneliness of the giant's life."

June has created the play in a setting of a traditional Asian city that goes through a cultural turmoil with Western influences during its Industrialization.

"I couldn't find a better place than Shanghai," says June about the choice of city to debut the play. "We are talking about Bangkok after Shanghai."

It is challenging to present an intimate show in a huge space like Mercedes-Benz Arena, June says. People want to see the whole picture but also want to see the expressions on the actors' faces. How to give them both without losing their concentration is key, he says.

Lost garden finds itself on stage

Lost garden finds itself on stage

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