Cast 7 male 3 female
Licence UK & Ireland only
A brilliant theatrical tour de force which is drawn from real life events involving the strange tale of Rene Gallimard, a French diplomat posted to Beijing who carried on a twenty year relationship with Song Liling, a Chinese opera star, without (he contended) realising that his ‘perfect woman’ was in reality a man. During the course of their affair he passes along diplomatic secrets, an act which eventually brings about his downfall and imprisonment. Underscoring the irony of Gallimard’s delusion and its curious parallel to the events of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, the play combines realism and ritual with vivid theatricality as scenes between the two lovers are interspersed with scenes of Gallimard’s wife and colleagues. When Song metamorphosises into his true masculine self before our very eyes, Gallimard cannot acknowledge or accept the transformation which drives him finally - and fatally - deep into the fantasy with which, over the years, he has held the truth at bay.