Questionning Heaven

filmed stage production with English subtitles

Questionning Heaven (天問) is a Chinese operatic adaptation of Shakespeare’s King Lear, performed by the Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company (台灣豫劇團).

Written by Pong Ching-hsi (彭鏡禧) and Chen Fang (陳芳), Questioning Heaven explores issues of human nature and existence, from the concept of family bonds, nationalism, selfishness and justice, to human relations and destiny.

King Lear is a tragedy written by Shakespeare from 1603 to 1605. It is more than a tragic story about a father and his family; it is about a king and his kingdom. Thus, to make a Bangzi opera version of Shakespeare’s play, the culture context, drama, language, storyline, and performance styles had to be adjusted accordingly.

Directed by Lu Bo-shen (呂柏伸), the opera follows the original structure of play, keeping the storyline of Duanmu Ke (Earl of Gloucester) and sons, and another storyline of Pin He-la (Lear) and daughters.

Questioning Heaven created a female version of Lear for Taiwan Bangzi opera diva Wang Hai-ling (王海玲), who thrillingly embraced the challenge of reinterpretation by playing such a complex character.

Moreover, the key scenes, Storm (風暴) and Gouging Out the Eyes (剜目), present the suffering and life journey of the main character in the two storylines. Pin (Lear) has the epiphany of her (his) life after experiencing poverty, and begins to put herself (himself) in other’s shoes.

Previous Bangzi adaptions of Shakespearean plays include Bond (約/束) and Measure, Measure! (量‧度), which were respectively based on The Merchant of Venice and Measure of Measure.

Originating in Henan, China, Bangzi Opera presents the characteristics of the sincerity, passion and boldness of Northern China. The Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company was established in Zuoying, Kaohsiung over sixty years ago. Led by Wang Hai-Ling, the Empress of Taiwan Bangzi Opera, and the fresh blooms of the younger generation of performers, the Company constantly strives forward in the creation of new works, blending in local arts and culture and synthesizing a uniquely Taiwanese form of Bangzi Opera. Every year, the Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company mounts a new production, bringing elite artists of the modern theater together in interdisciplinary and intercultural collaboration. The Company also vigorously pursues its educational mission, promoting Bangzi Opera at home and abroad to wide acclaim.

Creative and Production Team

Script Writer|PERNG Ching-hsi, CHEN Fang
Director|LU Po-shen
Assistant Director|YIN Ching-chun
Music Design|ZHANG Ting-ying
Music Arrangement|CHEN Jin-chi
Stage Design|LI Bo-lin
Lighting Design|SYU Jia-ying
Costume Design|LI Yu-shen
Multi-media Design|WANG Yi-sheng
Actors|WANG Hai-ling, XIAO Yang-ling, CHANG Hsuan-ting, HSIEH Wen-chi, CHU Hai-shan, LIU Chian-hua, YIN Ching-chun, CHENG Yang-wei 

How to Book

Please book via our Ticketsource link at Riding Lights Theatre using this link. You will then receive an invitation to the zoom link for the event. If you can’t join us live, a recording of the event will be available on Vimeo for the following 24 hours. and your booking email will include this password.