A woman's tragedy about the power of illusion
and the illusion of power
Liu Sola's Fantasy of the Red Queen – part fragmented dreamscape, part nightmarish parable – offers a personal perspective on collective thinking and revolutionary life in modern China.
In this avant-garde theatrical fable, jointly interpreted by Germany's Ensemble Modern and the Liu Sola & Friends Ensemble, traditional Peking opera, revolutionary songs and 1930s Shanghai pop are brought together in Brecht / Weill-like dance numbers seasoned with modern-day Mandopop, blues and hip-hop. All these elements are woven into the story of the trenchcoat-clad Red Queen (played by Liu), whose name is never revealed. Ensemble musicians appear in full view, participating in the action – dancing, speaking, marching – in the style of a postmodern, multi-tasking Greek chorus. The subplot of a moneygrubbing nurse, who looks after the Red Queen and is carrying on an illicit affair, sheds further light on the illusions and desires of women then and now.
In 2006, the world première of Fantasy of the Red Queen formed one of the highlights of Berlin's House of World Cultures China Festival. An impressionistic character study of an ingénue climbing up her contemporary tower of Babel, we stare straight into naked ambition, witnessing how it eventually leads to self-absorption and madness. With beguiling video art punctuating and accentuating the sparse action on stage, revolutionary chinoiserie becomes a chameleon transcending time and place.