Third Lao She Theater Festival wows audience with 12 global productions
2020-01-08 11:45 | CGTN


The third Lao She Theater Festival, which kicked off on September 19, drops its curtain in Beijing. This year's festival staged a total of 26 performances of 12 globally acclaimed productions from China, the United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, France and Macedonia.

In the past two months, the annual event, jointly organized by the Beijing Artists Management Corp and Beijing Tianqiao Performing Arts Center, included diverse cultural activities and exhibitions, offering opportunities for the public to savor the charm of theatrical arts.

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the birth of renowned Chinese novelist and dramatist Shu Qingchun, commonly known as his pen name Lao She.

One of the most significant figures of 20th-century Chinese literature, Lao She is best known for his 1936 novel "Rickshaw Boy," and the 1957 classic play "Teahouse."

According to Lin Libin, director of the festival, some of the plays and activities drew on the profound meanings and humanistic care in Lao She's works in memory of the legendary writer.

Focusing on realistic problems and local culture, the works resonated deeply with the audience.

Domestic classics still welcomed

Most of the domestic plays performed during this year's festival present the sadness and joy of individual life from the text to show the grand picture of the times.

The Beijing People's Art Theater staged "Thunderstorm," which is one of the most popular Chinese dramatic works by dramatist Cao Yu, another prominent figure in China's theatrical arena.

Starring veteran stage actors Yang Lixin and Gong Lijun, the new version follows the over-30-year entanglement between two families, showing the individual's powerlessness against all kinds of uncontrollable forces.

Another domestic prestigious theater – Shaanxi People's Art Theater presented the well-known piece "White Deer Plain." The play was based on the famous novel of the same name, which had embraced many adaptations including the 2011 film and 2017 TV series.

The staging version was presented in the dialect of northwest China's Shaanxi, where the stories happened, and critically acclaimed for its realness and emotional powerfulness.

Chinese plays staged during the festival also included classic comedy "Not Only You And Me" by Hugh Lee, also known as Li Guoxiu, a theater pioneer from China's Taiwan.

Directed by renowned actor Fan Kuang-Yao, the classic embraces a bold remake, seeing three actors play nearly thirty roles during the one-hour-plus performance.

More avant-garde works

The two-month festival also showcased three plays to commemorate the great English playwright William Shakespeare (1564 –1616), including "Twelfth Night" and "Comedy of Errors" by prestigious British Shakespeare's Globe Theater.

The Song of the Goat Theater from Poland performed the award-winning show "Songs of Lear," which paints the tragic stories from "King Lear" in music, movement and song, wowing Chinese audience with the innovative interpretation of the classic piece.

The festival also staged "En Attendant Godot" by Theatre Nono from France and Israeli nest-known dramatist Hanoch Levin's "The Child Dreams" by the National Theater of Bitola from The Republic of North Macedonia.

The event's director said that they hoped that domestic audiences and creators would have a broader international perspective in the current globalization process by watching more avant-garde works during the festival.

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