left corner left corner
China Daily Website

Stellar cast shines, but play needs a little adventure

Updated: 2012-12-21 09:40
By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily)

With opera training from a young age, though not Peking Opera and not in female roles, he pulls off the opening scene of the character on stage with strong credibility. The fantasy scene that closes the play, where he does a dance with the older self's corpse in the foreground, again in female garb, elevates the tale of love to a higher plane.

In contrast with these leading performances, two supporting roles provide comic relief as well as the uglier side of humanity.

The butler who latches onto the next powerful person and sells out those who have helped him seem like a reincarnation of Monsieur Thenardier from Les Miserables, born into a Beijing household.

Stellar cast shines, but play needs a little adventure

Video games enter home of Van Gogh, Dali 

The student who gives up everything to hover around the star, ingratiating himself into his circle and believing himself to be an indispensable part of the star ecosystem, is the predecessor of the modern lunatic whose dream is becoming a groupie. There are no sexual innuendos but he is dumb but hilarious.

The set, designed by Xue Dianjie, is traditional in the sense it does not impede the drama nor enhance it. It is much lower key than NCPA's two previous productions of straight plays. Both Jane Eyre and Wangfujing featured fluid or elaborate sets that made full use of the state-of-the-art stagecraft.

Unlike its opera productions, NCPA's plays run into stiff competition as the city also has the Beijing People's Art Theater, a bastion of repertory plays, among several theaters and dozens of small ones with more avant-garde offerings, not to mention the touring productions from Taiwan's Stan Lai, which sweeps the mainland like a force of nature.

NCPA hews to the tried-and-true with both mainstream aesthetics and commercial appeal in mind. In that sense, it is positioning itself as an haute version of the Beijing People's Art Theater, with several cast members borrowed from that institution for Returning Home on a Snowy Night.

To broaden its lineup for a regular season like that of its operas, it needs to build on its strength by kicking in something more adventurous and wider-ranging in programming.

Contact the writer at raymondzhou@chinadaily.com.cn

Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

  • Group a building block for Africa

    An unusually heavy downpour hit Durban for two days before the BRICS summit's debut on African soil, but interest for a better platform for emerging markets were still sparked at the summit.