The bilingual drama Agamemnon, a co-production of the National Theater Company of China a
nd the National Theater of Greece, represents a refreshing innovation for Chinese theater lovers.
The play by ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus, often called the “father of tragedy”, is the first part of his only extant tr
ilogy. It is a story about patriarchy, matriarchy, revenge and justice. In the story, Agamemnon s
acrifices his daughter to win the Trojan War. After his triumphant return, the king is slain by his wife and her lover.
Directed by Stathis Livathinos, artistic director of the NTG, Agamemnon embodies a pr
ofound cooperation between China and Greece. “To have a bilingual presentation of a play means yo
u hear two languages, two kinds of actors, two schools. Of course it’s a very big risk. But it’s better to go with a risk t
han with safety. Because I really believe the National Theater should always be the avant-garde,” he said.
”Agamemnon is a part of something bigger that doesn’t belong only to Greece. This
is a theatrical and artistic meeting of two civilizations on stage,” Livathinos added.
United States is particularly appealing to North Korea, who believes a good relationship with the United States can h
elp create the right environment and necessary conditions for achieving North Korea’s new strategic drive toward ec
onomic development,” said Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing.
The concept isn’t new, of course. During his time as an Asia expert at the State Department in the Clinton administration, Evans Revere said negoti
ators working with North Korea were even then trying to point them to Vietnam, which was beginning to reap t
he benefits of market reforms and becoming a member of good international standing.
”We thought, somewhat naively back then, that this would appeal to the North Koreans gre
atly and that our commitments to work with them on bringing about a modernized economy w
ould be so attractive … that they would stand down from their nuclear weapons program. We were wrong,” Revere said.
”If all of these incentives or this incentive-based approach to coaxing North Korea do
wn a new path did not work when they didn’t have nuclear weapons, and it didn’t work to prevent th
em from developing nuclear weapons, why will it work now that they are in effect a nuclear weapons state?”
Marvel’s “Black Panther” looked like a contender by claiming a pair of early awards, and made
history in the process: Ruth E. Carter and Hannah Beachler became the first African-American w
omen to win for costume design and production design, respectively. The film was also honored for its musical score.
”Roma” didn’t walk away empty handed, earing best foreig
n-language film. Its director, Alfonso Cuaron, was honored for directing and cin
ematography for the black-and-white period drama, a deeply personal look back at the women who raised him.
Cuaron’s marks the fifth time a Mexican director has won that
award in the past six years, a stretch that includes his previous win for “Gravity” in 2014.
Guillermo Del Toro — who presented the statuette to Cuaron — was t
he victor last year for “The Shape of Water.” The third member of the “Three Amigos,” as the
y are affectionately known, is Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a winner for “Birdman” and “The Revenant.”
Mahershala Ali received his second Oscar in three years for “Green Book,” and the film al
so won for original screenplay, despite separate controversies related to its director and w
riter. With his prior award for “Moonlight,” Ali becomes only the second African-American actor with multiple Os
cars, joining Denzel Washington. A tearful Regina King took the first award of the night, winning supporting actress f
or “If Beale Street Could Talk,” director Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel.
Man: Into the Spider-Verse” swinging off with best animated movie, as the Sony release topped a pair of Disney sequels, “Ralph
Breaks the Internet” and “Incredibles 2.” “Free Solo,” a hit documentary about daredevil climber Al
ex Honnold, topped the documentary feature category, which also included the Ruth Bader Ginsburg biography “RBG.” In th
eir enthusiasm, one of the filmmakers blurted out an expletive that was promptly bleeped.
”Bohemian Rhapsody’s” other wins came in both sound categories as
well editing. Notably, none of the “Rhapsody” winners thanked credited director, Bryan Si
nger, who was accused of sexual abuse in January, allegations that the filmmaker has denied.
In one of the more expected victories, the team that transformed Christian Bale into former Vice Pr
esident Dick Cheney won in makeup/hairstyling for “Vice.” Visual effects, however, were something of a
surprise, going to “First Man,” the moon-landing drama about Neil Armstrong.
Lacking a host, the producers relied on music and comedy bits to enlive
n the evening, including a duet from “A Star is Born” by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga — la
ter the winner for best song — which drew a standing ovation from the Hollywood crowd.
Reem pre-booked the taxi. It was Rawan’s job to retrieve their passports from a bag stored in their parents’ bedroom. Around 2 a.m
., she tip-toed past them as they slept, took the bag with their passports, then snuck back in again to return the bag so as not to raise suspicion.
”It’s a really great memory, exciting,” Rawan tells CNN, smiling. Of the two sisters, she‘s the more talkative, taking the lead and occasi
onally looking to her sister for advice on the right word in English. Reem is more reserved. She’s careful about what she says and who to tr
ust. They both have dark, short, curly hair and being small in stature seem much younger than their years.
When the cab driver arrived at 5 a.m., the sisters say they did something they’d never do
ne before. They pulled on jeans they’d bought in secret and walked out of the house without their abayas.
It was only after they arrived at Colombo Airport that the sisters booked the flight they’d
meticulously researched online: SriLankan Airlines flight UL892 departing Colombo at 9 a.m., arriving Hong Kong a
t 5:10 p.m. local time. From there, they’d take Cathay Pacific flight CX135 departing at 7:10 p.m. for Melbourne, Australia.
They had no trouble boarding the plane for the roughly six-hour flight to Hong Kong.
It was after they arrived in at Hong Kong International Airport that things started to go wrong.