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Thứ Năm, tháng 4 20, 2006

No. 0880

SPREADING WISDOM IN THE HEART OF LONDON
Apr 20 2006

TV actor's latest challenge

By Alan Lodge


DOCKLANDS' very own Prime Minister is gearing up to wow the West End with his latest production amid the glitz and glamour of Leicester Square.

Hi Ching, who played the role of PM in Channel 4 drama The First Emperor in March, is directing Journey to Wisdom - a 40-minute musical celebrating the 2,500th anniversary of the birth of the Buddha.

The show, which premieres on May 6, recounts the story of a pampered prince who embarks on a journey of spiritual discovery and enlightenment as he seeks to cast aside his worldly possessions to attain Buddhahood.

Isle of Dogs resident Hi Ching, from the Quarterdeck, off Westferry Road, composed the songs and directs the production. With the show set to tour indoor arenas in Birmingham and Manchester during May, Hi Ching, who is also director of the annual River Cultures Festival at Canary Wharf, had to ensure it would succeed both outdoors in the bustling centre of London and indoors.

He said: "The spiritual side of humanity is so integral to our existence that numerous religions and faith systems have developed through our civilisations, shaped into beliefs and symbols which define our cultural and personal identities. That premise was exciting to explore through the form of a musical."

The show centres around two characters: Prince Siddhartha, the Buddha, and Queen Mahayama, his mother, who are represented by dancers.


Hi Ching said: "The Queen dreamed that the spirit of her child entered into her body. Shortly after his birth, her human function over, she dies but her spirit sustains her child, providing the link between the two worlds of Earth and Heaven. She reappears as a number of signs which Siddhartha experiences and learns to overcome attachment to."


He added: "The cast worked hard to achieve the final product and, I hope, learned from the experiences of how artists can sculpt the ingredients of script, music, emotion, imagination, logistics, technique and physical instruments to communicate their inner spirits and intentions."

If that sounds like your thing, Journey to Wisdom will enchant the Leicester Square crowds at 3pm and 6pm on Saturday, May 6, and again at 2pm on Sunday, May 7.

alan.lodge@wharf.co.uk

http://icthewharf.icnetwork.co.uk/thisweek/news/tm_objectid=16969114%26method=full%26siteid=71670%26headline=spreading%2dwisdom%2din%2dthe%2dheart%2dof%2dlondon-name_page.html