Dark clouds are gathering

Updated: 2014-06-28 10:38

By Zhang Kun (Shanghai Star)

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Dark clouds are gathering

Tension bubbles over on stage during Thunder Storm. [Photo provided to Shanghai Star]

A thunderstorm breaks out when the mother of a maid working in the house drops by to take the daughter away, cutting open the painful past hidden in the Zhou family.

The play, directed by Gu Wei, features no music or any other tools to strengthen the emotional highlights or tap the rhythm of the performance. "It’s just an honest theater performance," Gu says.

"All depends on the actors on the stage. That’s what huaju (the Chinese word for modern theater, in contrast with traditional folk opera and other theater art) is all about. Actors create characters on the stage through words — dialogue and monologues."

Gu is indignant over the contemporary theater market in China.

"They can put anything on the stage and call it a play, as long as it wins eyeballs and sells tickets," says the 70-year-old director.

Beijing People’s Art Theatre presents Thunder Storm like a showpiece of theater art in China. Yang believes a genuine classic is worth repeated reading and interpretation.

He compares his role of Zhou Puyuan with China’s first generation of modern entrepreneurs. This has helped him to understand the motivation and personality of the character.

Instead of a traditional patriarch in a conservative family, Zhou is a pioneer of his time, who dares to love a woman of much lower social status and maintain the relationship till two boys are born, Yang finds.

On tour from Beijing People’s Art Theatre to Shanghai will be six small projects in Chinese: Three in the Back, Two in the Head by Canadian playwright Jason Sherman; two original plays about contemporary Chinese family and social life; a biographical play about Vincent Van Gogh, The Bad Girl, adapted from a novel by Peruvian Nobel-Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, and modern Greek author Iakovos Kambanelis’s continuation of the classical Aeschylus Trilogy.


7:30 pm, Jul 31-Aug 10, Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, 288 Anfu Road, Xuhui district, 021-6473-0123 180-380 yuan ($28.80-$60.75) Detailed program and online box-office: sdac.taobao.com

TROUBLE BREWING: Tension bubbles over on stage during Thunder Storm. PHOTOS PROVIDED TO Shanghai Star


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