Twee voorstellingen vanuit de gedachte dat de wereld één dorp, één gemeenschap is. Niet vanuit een scheiding in Chinees of Nederlands, maar vanuit een persoon hier en nu in discussie met beide. De schrijver/regisseur wil uitdrukking geven aan het veranderingsproces die hij nu ondergaat na drie jaar in Nederland. de nieuwe westerse inzichten en theateropvattingen verrijken niet alleen, maar houden hem ook een spiegel voor om te kijken naar eigen cultuurgoed en theatertradities, waarvoor hij in eigen land minder of anders oog had. Een confrontatie tussen traditionele chinese opera en westerse speelstijlen. Met als specifiek thema dualiteit: Er is geen enkelvoudige uitleg. Iets is tegelijkertijd niets. Tegenover het denken van goed of slecht, bestaat ook het idee van goed en goed.


Een oude tempel, historische plaats van handeling uit de opera "Afscheid van de onoverwinnelijke koning van zijn concubine".vormt de ontmoetingsplek van een medische student, een oudere westerse theatermaler en een jonge Chinese vrouw. Zij is levensmoe. Tussen deze laatste tee klikt het op het eerste gezicht. Zij treffen elkaar in de oude scene van Ba Wang en zijn concubine Yu Ji. Als het meisje aan het eind van hun dans haar fatale daad verricht, blijkt de plaats omsingeld door politie. Een ontmoeting tussen het westers theater en de Chinese opera.

  Spelers: Wang Lei,  Rob Duyker,  Charley Barnaart, Regie: Zhu Jun

Farewell to my Concubine -Chinese Opera

Farewell My Concubine is a Chinese Peking Opera.
(The Hegemon King says Farewell to his Queen.[1])

The play tells the story of Xiang Yu, the self-styled "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" who battled for the unification of China with Liu Bang, the eventual founder of the Han Dynasty. In the play, Xiang Yu is surrounded by Liu Bang's forces and on the verge of total defeat, so he calls forth his horse and begs it to run away for the sake of its own safety. The horse refuses, against his wishes. He then calls for the company of his favorite concubine, Consort Yu (aka Yuji). Realizing the dire situation that has befallen them, she begs to die alongside her master, but he strongly refuses this wish. Afterwards, as he is distracted, Yu commits suicide with Xiang Yu's sword.


“Having Courage but No Strategies” -  “Yǒu Yǒng Wú Móu” (有勇無謀) -

Xiang Yu - Chinese aristocratic general and cultural hero.

(Chinees: 西楚霸王; pinyin: Xīchǔ Bàwáng)                 
Born 232 BCE    Died 202 BCE (aged 30) Hegemon-King of Western Chu, Reign 206 BCE – 202 BCE

The story of the brilliant and complicated character Xiang Yu (232-202 B.) concerns his meteoric rise from a man with “no inch of territory” to a great conqueror, and his rivalry with and defeat by Liu Bang, founder of the Han dynasty in 206 BC. The details recorded in the Historical Records of the Han Dynasty historian Sima Qian. tell of his arrogant, impetuous character that led to his demise.
Xiang Yu was from a noble family in the former State of Chu that had ceased to exist when Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor, unified the country. While a peasant rebellion led by Chen Sheng and Wu Guang was assailing Qin rule, Xiang Yu killed the prefect of Wu (the present-day Suzhou in Jiangsu Province) and organized troops to join the uprising. He overthrew the Qin dynasty and tried to return China to a pre-Qin ruling system. His forces were overwhelmed by Liu Bang (Gaozu), founder of the Han dynasty, and Xiang Yu chose suicide over capture. His heroism has been glorified in Chinese stories and poetry.
Xiang Yu (232- 202 B.C.), born in Xiaxiang (today's Suqian, Jiangsu), was the grandson of a famous general in State of Chu. He was the leader of uprising in ancient China and a famous militarist famed as King of Western Chu. After the State of Chu was conquered, the Xiang family was slaughtered, leaving Xiang Yu, his brother Xiang Zhuang and uncle Xiang Liang exiling in Wuzhong (today's Huzhou, Zhejiang). Xiang Liang once hired teacher to teach Xiang Yu calligraphy and poetry when he was young, but he got tired of it soon; in the same way he quitted learning martial arts later, which made his uncle rather angry. However, Xiang Yu said: "Learning writing helps but remember names, while the martial arts serve to resist a hundred by one. If I can choose, I will learn to fight ten thousand people!" Therefore, his uncle began to teach him tactics, while he quitted again after some time. Xiang Yu was tall and strong, with great ambition at a young age. In the first year during the reign of Emperor the Second of the Qin Dynasty (209 B.C.) when Chen Sheng and Wu Guang launched the peasant uprising in Daze Township, Xiang Yu followed his uncle in assassinating the Grand Administrator Yin Tong in Wuzhong to assist in the uprising. In this battle Xiang Yu killed a hundred guarders by himself, showing his excellent martial skills. Later, he was gradually chosen as the leader of the risers and ended the era of Qin. However, because of his headstrongness and atrocity, Xiang Yu lost the support of vassals and the common people. He was defeated by Liu Bang at last in "Contest Between Chu and Han" and committed suicide by the Wujiang River.
Xiang had a double pupil in one of his eyes[1] just like the ancient Chinese rulers Shun and Duke Wen of Jin before him. He was thus seen as an extraordinary person because his unique double pupil was a mark of a king or sage in Chinese tradition. Xiang was slightly taller than eight chi (approximately 1.85 metres, about 6' 1") and possessed unusual physical strength as he could lift a Ding (an ancient Chinese vessel resembling a giant cauldron on tripods).[1]
When Xiang became older, his uncle killed someone and they fled to Wu (present-day southern Jiangsu) to evade the authorities. At that time, Qin Shi Huang was on an inspection tour in that area and Xiang watched the emperor's procession pass by with his uncle. Xiang said, "I can replace him (Qin Shi Huang)." (彼可取而代之).[1] Xiang Liang was shocked and immediately covered his nephew's mouth with his hand. Since then, Xiang Liang began to see his nephew in a different light.

Rebellion against the Qin Dynasty

In 209 BC, during the reign of Qin Er Shi (successor of Qin Shi Huang), peasant rebellions erupted throughout China to overthrow the Qin Dynasty, plunging China into a state of anarchy. Yin Tong, Grand Administrator of Kuaiji, wanted to start a rebellion as well, so he invited Xiang Liang to meet him and discuss their plans. However, the Xiangs lured Yin into a trap and killed him instead, with Xiang Yu personally striking down dozens of Yin's men. Xiang Liang initiated the rebellion himself and rallied about 8,000 men to support him. Xiang Liang proclaimed himself Grand Administrator of Kuaiji while appointing Xiang Yu as General. Xiang Liang's rebel force grew in size until it was between 60,000 to 70,000. Later that year, Xiang Liang was killed in the Battle of Dingtao against the Qin army led by Zhang Han and King Huai II granted Xiang Yu the title of "Marquis of Lu" (魯公), and placed him second-in-command to lead an army to reinforce Zhao Xie. At the same time, the king placed Liu Bang in command of another army to attack Guanzhong, the heartland of Qin. The king promised that whoever managed to enter Guanzhong first will be conferred the title of "King of Guanzhong".
Battle of Julu
The Chu army led by Song Yi and Xiang reached Anyang, some distance away from Julu (in present-day Xingtai, Hebei), where Zhao Xie's forces had retreated to. Song ordered the troops to lay camp there for 46 days and he refused to accept Xiang Yu's suggestion to proceed further. Xiang took Song by surprise in a military conference and killed him on charges of treason. The other deputy generals were afraid of Xiang and let him become the acting-commander. Xiang sent a messenger to inform King Huai II and the king approved Xiang's command.
In 207 BC, Xiang's army advanced towards Julu and he sent Ying Bu and Zhongli Mo to lead the 20,000 strong vanguard army to cross the river and attack the Qin forces led by Zhang Han, while he followed behind with the remaining majority of the troops. In a decision which has become legendary in Chinese history, after crossing the river, Xiang ordered his men to sink their boats and destroy all but three days worth of rations, in order to force his men to choose between prevailing against overwhelming odds within three days or die trapped before the walls of the city with no supplies or hope of escape. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Chu forces scored a great victory after nine engagements, defeating the 300,000 strong Qin army. After the battle, other rebel forces, including those not from Chu, came to join Xiang out of admiration for his martial valor. When Xiang received them at the gate, the rebel generals were so fearful of him that they sank to their knees and did not even dare to look up at him.
The defeated Zhang Han sent his deputy Sima Xin to Xianyang to request for reinforcements and supplies from the emperor. Zhao Gao deceived the emperor and the emperor dismissed Zhang's request. Zhao even sent assassins to kill Sima on his return journey later, but Sima managed to escape and return to Zhang. In dire straits, Zhang and his 200,000 troops eventually surrendered to Xiang in the summer of 207 BC. Xiang perceived the surrendered Qin troops as disloyal and a liability, and had them executed by burying them alive at Xinan. Zhang, along with Sima and Dong Yi, were spared from death. Xiang appointed Zhang as "King of Yong", while Sima and Dong were respectively conferred the titles of "King of Sai" and "King of Di".

Feast at Hong Gate

After his victory in the Battle of Julu, Xiang prepared for an invasion on Guanzhong, the heartland of the Qin Dynasty. In the winter of 207 BC, the last Qin ruler Ziying surrendered to Liu Bang's army in Xianyang (capital city of Qin), bringing an end to the Qin Dynasty. When Xiang arrived at Hangu Pass, the eastern gateway to Guanzhong, he saw that the pass was occupied by Liu's troops, a sign that Guanzhong was already under Liu's control. Liu's general Cao Wushang sent a messenger to see Xiang, saying that Liu would become King of Guanzhong in accordance with King Huai II's earlier promise, while Ziying would be appointed as Liu's Chancellor. Xiang was furious after hearing that. At that time, he had about 400,000 troops under his command while Liu only had a quarter of that number. As strongly encouraged by his advisor Fan Zeng, Xiang invited Liu to attend a banquet at Hong Gate and intended to kill Liu during the feast. However, Xiang listened to his uncle Xiang Bo (a friend of Liu's strategist Zhang Liang) instead and spared Liu's life. Liu escaped later under the pretext of going to the latrine. Xiang paid no attention to Liu's presumptive title and led his troops into Xianyang in 206 BC. Xiang ordered the execution of Ziying and his family, as well as the destruction of the Epang Palace by fire. It was said that Xiang would leave behind a trail of destruction in the places he passed by, and the people of Guanzhong were greatly disappointed with him.[4]

Division of the empire

After the downfall of the Qin Dynasty, Xiang offered King Huai II the more honourable title of "Emperor Yi of Chu" and announced his decision to divide the former Qin empire. Xiang declared himself "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" (西楚霸王) and ruled nine commanderies in the former Liang and Chu territories, with his capital city at Pengcheng (present-day Xuzhou). In the spring of 206 BC, Xiang divided the empire into eighteen kingdoms, to be granted to his subordinates and some leaders of the former anti-Qin forces. He moved some of the rulers of other states to more remote areas and granted the land of Guanzhong to the three surrendered Qin generals, ignoring Emperor Yi's earlier promise to appoint Liu Bang as king of that region. Liu was moved to the remote Hanzhong area instead and given the title of "King of Han" (漢王).
Xiang appointed several generals from the rebel coalition forces as regional kings, even though these generals were subordinates of other lords, who should rightfully become the kings in place of their followers. Xiang also left out some other important rebel leaders who did not support him earlier, but did contribute to the overthrow of Qin. In winter, Xiang moved Emperor Yi to the remote area of Chen County (present-day Chenzhou, Hunan), effectively sending the puppet emperor into exile. At the same time, he issued a secret order to the regional kings in that area and had the emperor assassinated during his journey (205 BCE). The emperor's death was later used by Liu Bang as political propaganda to justify his war against Xiang Yu.
In 206 BC, Liu Bang led his forces to attack Guanzhong. At that time, Xiang was at war with Qi and did not focus on resisting the Han forces. The following year, Liu formed an alliance with another five kingdoms and attacked Western Chu with a 560,000 strong army, capturing Xiang's capital city of Pengcheng. Upon hearing that, Xiang led 30,000 men to attack Liu and defeated the latter at the Battle of Pengcheng, with the Han army suffering heavy casualties.
Liu Bang managed to escape after his defeat with Xiang's troops on pursuit. The Han forces retreated to Xingyang and defended the city firmly, preventing the Chu troops from advancing west any further, but only managed to hold on until 204 BC. Liu's general Ji Xin disguised himself as his lord and surrendered to Xiang, buying time for Liu Bang to escape. When Xiang learnt that he had been fooled, he was furious and had Ji burnt to death. After the fall of Xingyang, the Chu and Han forces were divided on two fronts along present-day Henan. However, Xiang's forces were not faring well on the battlefront north of the Yellow River, as the Han army led by Han Xin defeated his troops in every single battle. At the same time, Liu's ally Peng Yue led his men to harass Xiang's rear.
By 203 BC, the tide has turned in favour of Han. Xiang managed to capture Liu's father after a year-long siege and he threatened to boil Liu's father alive if Liu refused to surrender. Liu remarked that he and Xiang were sworn brothers,[7] so if Xiang killed Liu's father, he would be guilty of patricide. Xiang requested for an armistice, known as the Treaty of Hong Canal, and returned the hostages he captured back to Liu as part of their agreement. The treaty divided China into east and west under the Chu and Han domains respectively.
Shortly after, as Xiang was retreating eastwards, Liu renounced the treaty and led his forces to attack Western Chu. Liu sent messengers to Han Xin and Peng Yue, requesting for their assistance in forming a three-pronged attack on Xiang, but Han and Peng did not mobilize their troops and Liu was defeated by Xiang at the Battle of Guling. Liu retreated and reinforced his defenses, while sending emissaries to Han and Peng, promising to grant them fiefs and titles of regional kings if they would join him in attacking Western Chu.

Defeat and downfall

In 202 BC, Han armies led by Liu Bang, Han Xin and Peng Yue attacked Western Chu from three sides and trapped Xiang's army, which was low on supplies, in the Battle of Gaixia. Liu ordered his troops to sing folk songs from the Chu region, to create a false impression that Xiang's native land of Chu had been conquered by the Han forces. The morale of the Chu army plummeted and many of Xiang's troops deserted in despair. Xiang sank into a state of depression and he sang the famous Song of Gaixia. His concubine Consort Yu committed suicide. The next morning, Xiang led about 800 of his remaining elite cavalry on a desperate attempt to break out of the encirclement, with 5000 enemy troops hot on pursuit.
After crossing the Huai River, Xiang was only left with a few hundred soldiers. They were lost in Yinling and Xiang asked for directions from a farmer, who directed him wrongly to a swamp. When Xiang reached Dongcheng, only 28 men were left, with the Han troops still following him. Xiang made a speech to his men, saying that his downfall was due to Heaven's will and not his personal failure. After that, he led a charge out of the encirclement, killing one Han general in the battle. Xiang then split his men into three groups to confuse the enemy and induce them to split up as well to attack the three groups. Xiang took the Han troops by surprise again and slew another Han general, inflicting about 100 casualties on the enemy, while he only lost two men.
Xiang retreated to Wu River (near present-day He County, Chaohu City, Anhui) and the ferryman at the ford prepared a boat for him to cross the river, strongly encouraging him to do so because Xiang still had the support of the people from his homeland in the south. Xiang said that he was too ashamed to return home and face his people because none of the first 8,000 men from Jiangdong who followed him on his conquests managed to survive. He refused to cross and ordered his remaining men to dismount, asking the ferryman to take his beloved war horse Zhui (騅) back home.
Xiang then led his men to attack the Han soldiers for one last time. Xiang managed to kill dozens of enemies but he suffered grave wounds and all his 26 men perished. Xiang then drew his sword and committed suicide by slitting his throat.


Consort Yu

(died 202 BC), Yu Miaoyi, popularly known as "Yu the Beautiful" (虞美人), was a concubine of Xiang Yu.
Yu's birth date was unknown and there are two accounts of her origin. The first said she was a native of Yanji Village (顏集鄉) in Shuyang County, while the other claimed that she was from Changshu in Suzhou, but both pointed that she was born in present-day Jiangsu. In 209 BC, Xiang Yu and his uncle Xiang Liang started a rebellion to overthrow the Qin Dynasty. Yu's older brother, Yu Ziqi, was serving in Xiang's army as a general then. Yu met Xiang Yu, fell in love with him and became his concubine. Since then, she followed Xiang even on military campaigns, and refused to remain behind. In 202 BC, Xiang Yu was besieged in the Battle of Gaixia by the combined forces of Liu Bang (King of Han), Han Xin and Peng Yue. The Han army started to sing folk songs from Xiang's native land of Chu to create a false impression that they had captured Chu. The morale of Xiang's troops plummeted and several soldiers deserted. In despair, Xiang indulged in alcohol and sang the famous Song of Gaixia to express his sorrow. Yu performed a sword dance and sang a verse in return. To prevent Xiang from being distracted by his love for her, Yu committed suicide with Xiang's sword after singing. She was buried at Gaixia. A "Consort Yu Tomb" stands in present-day Lingbi County, Anhui province.
The romance of Xiang Yu and Consort Yu has been the subject of plays, films and TV series, even though not much about Yu was recorded in history. The story was reenacted on stage in the classic Peking opera Farewell My Concubine. A novel of the same title by Lilian Lee was adapted into Chen Kaige's award-winning film Farewell My Concubine. Poets Su Shi, He Pu and Yuan Mei have written poems about Yu as well.





Voorstelling No Limit

No Limit
Eén gelijk principe, dit keer een begrip: No Limit, grenzeloosheid, onbegrensdheid. Waar Tai Ji de onbegrensdheid van tijd en ruimte aanduidt, suggereert de pop-song No Limit de onbegrenste mogelijkheden van het individu. De ontmoeting wordt geprojekteerd en vindt plaats in verschillende tijden van de geschiedenis. Ook hier worden de twee werelden uit hun afgescheidenheid gehaald, maar juist door het wederzijds onbekende te accentueren en te vergroten en die een de fantastisch spel met elkaar te laten aangaan
De deelname aan elkaars rituelen, en daar mee gedachten en ervaren, is veelmeer een voorzichtig aftasten en proeven. De verschillende stijlen bleven meer apart, waardoor het chinese meer dans en zang was en het westerse spel en tekst.


No Limit - Artant/Erfgenamen vd Draak. School-Kunstdag in Amsterdam op 25 maart as in Theater De Balie

In "No Limit" zit schrijver Charley zonder ideeën. Op de computer raakt hij verzeild in de Tang-periode van het China van meer dan duizend jaar geleden. waar hij zijn personage Rob moet zien te redden. Daar ontmoeten zij de legendarische concubine Yan aan het keizerlijke hof. Zij halen haar over met hen te vluchten naar een vrij land in de moderne tijd. In de voorstelling ontmoet de Peking Opera van het oude China de moderne westerse popmuziek.


Jeugdtheater op de School-Kunstdag Amsterdam, 1994 Theater De Balie. Regie: Zhu Jun
Spelers: Wang Lei, Charley Barnaart, Rob Duyker



Erfgenamen van de draak was in 1993 een nog jonge toneelgroep die het gedachtegoed van de Chinese cultuur wilde uitdragen. Zij wilde een brug vormen tussen westers en Chinees thea­ter en met een totaal nieuwe vorm in de westerse theaterwe­reld staan. De actrice Wang Lei is afgestudeerd aan de Peking Opera school te Shanghai. In 1988 werd zij als enige actrice afkomstig uit Shanghai uitgenodigd voor het beroemde Mei Pei Festival in Hong Kong.
Regisseur, Zhu Jun, noemt zich zelf een moderne Chinese theatermaker. In China kreeg hij les in modern westers theater en stond koel tegenover de traditionele Chinese cultuur. Met zijn vlucht uit China is zijn belangstel­ling voor de Chinese cultuur juist steeds meer toegenomen. Naar Nederland gekomen heeft hij een half jaar lang de opleiding voor theaterdocent docent gevolgd in Amsterdam. En richtte de theatergroep Erfgenamen van de Draak op. NO LIMIT was het tweede stuk dat hij schreef na OP HET EERSTE GEZICHT