Shenzhen Poly Theater unveils drama season

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“A Dream Like a Dream.” File photos

This spring can be both rewarding and afflicting for drama fans, as Shenzhen Poly Theater is staging seven projects between March and May. Those who are eager to live the excitement of watching them will inevitably burn a big hole in their wallet.

The first project, “A Dream Like a Dream” by preeminent playwright-director Stan Lai, has seen all tickets sell out.

The show, thought of as a masterpiece, has 30 actors playing nearly 100 roles in 400 costumes against rotating sets on a four-sided stage. Besides the costumes and sets designed by Oscar-winning Timmy Yip, the show’s appeal also lies in the stellar performances by experienced actors such as Xu Qing (“Mr. Six”) and Hu Ge (“Nirvana in Fire”).

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“Thunderstorm”

“Thunderstorm” presented by Beijing People’s Art Theater (BPAT) is a treasure from the Chinese classical theater repertoire. Written in 1934 by Cao Yu (1910-1996), it is one of the most popular Chinese dramatic works of the period prior to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. The script was first published in the literary magazine Literary Quarterly. Shortly after its publication, the production was staged in Jinan, and later, in 1935, in Shanghai and Tokyo, well received in both places. The drama centers on the Zhou family’s destruction as a result of incest and oppression, caused by its morally depraved patriarch Zhou Puyuan, a wealthy businessman.

The production to be shown in Shenzhen is the third-ever presented by BPAT, starring talented young actors like Yang Lixin, Gong Lijun and Wang Ban.

“To the Sky Kingdom,” a popular Internet fantasy novel by Tang Qi, has already been adapted into a TV series and a movie. The stage version also targets young audiences intrigued by fantasy and love stories.

“Three Sisters Waiting for Godot,” which debuted in 1998, is thought of as a masterpiece of Chinese dramatist Lin Zhaohua in experimental theater. The hybrid play, combining Chekhov’s four-act “The Three Sisters” with Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” sparked huge controversy when it was first released. The “waiting” of the sisters is somewhat classical and romantic, whereas the “waiting” of Godot is modern and absurd. On a stage designed by Yi Liming, the home of the three sisters sits on a lonely islet; under a tree not far away, two tramps are waiting for Godot. The characters, mirroring each other, are dreamers hopelessly waiting but never taking action.

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“Tuesdays With Morrie.”

“Tuesdays With Morrie” is based on a memoir by American writer Mitch Albom. The original book topped The New York Times’ non-fiction bestsellers in year 2000. In the book, newspaper sports columnist Albom recounts the time spent with his 78-year-old sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz, at Brandeis University, who was dying from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Knowing he was dying, Morrie spent time talking with Albom in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final class: lessons on how to live. The nearly three-hour show has only two actors and a succinct stage set, but is nevertheless touching, with Taiwanese veteran King Shih-chieh taking the role of the dying professor.

The season also presents original play “Tomorrow” and comedy “Never Say Die.” Produced by Kaixin Mahua, a theatrical company famous for its farcical plays in China, the latter has much appeal for young audiences.

Venue: Shenzhen Poly Theater, intersection of Wenxin Road 5 and Houhaibin Road, Nanshan District (南山区后海滨路与文心五路交界处深圳保利剧院)

Metro: Line 2 or 11, Houhai Station (后海站), Exit E

Schedule

A Dream Like a Dream

2 p.m., 7:30 p.m., March 16-18

Tickets: 80-1,680 yuan

Thunderstorm

8 p.m., March 22-23

Tickets: 180-1,080 yuan

To the Sky Kingdom

8 p.m., April 10-11

Tickets: 180-880 yuan

Tomorrow

8 p.m., May 4-5

Three Sisters Waiting for Godot

8 p.m., May 11

Tickets: 180-680 yuan

Tuesdays With Morrie

8 p.m., May 18-19

Tickets: 180-680 yuan

Never Say Die

8 p.m., May 26

Tickets: 180-880 yuan

(Shenzhen Daily)

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