Star-studded period drama brings back old Beijing

Writer: Li Dan  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-07-04

“Break Gold,” an acclaimed Chinese-language play from Long Ma Studio that first premiered in Beijing in 2017, will be staged at the Shenzhen Poly Theater for three consecutive nights in August, during a last-round national tour of the show.

(From L) Zhang Guoli, Zhang Tielin and Wang Gang in a scene from “Break Gold.” File photo

Starring veteran Chinese actors Zhang Guoli, Wang Gang and Zhang Tielin as three kindred-spirited buddies who promised to support one another through the ups and downs of their lives in Beijing in the first half of the 20th century, the play is rated at 8.4 points out of 10 on Douban, the Chinese equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes.

Apart from the star-studded cast, the play has its strength in a well-told story crafted by Zou Jingzhi, the playwright behind such award-winning films as “The Grandmaster” and “Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles.”

In the play, Zhang Guoli acts as Fu Xiaolian, the son of a wealthy family who loses his family fortune through the chaotic years and ends up doing small business in Beijing’s Dong’an marketplace. A well-bred man with high moral standards and compassion for people around him, Fu represents a decent good man in line with Confucianism and traditional Chinese values.

Wang acts as Wei Qingshan, a no-nonsense tough guy determined to go after wealth and success by every possible means. Wei’s life is a rags-to-riches legend at the expense of friendships and personal emotions.

Zhang Tielin, in the role of a simple-minded guy, wowed audiences with his skills in Beijing opera singing in previous shows. A die-hard fan of Beijing opera, the character Gui Bao’s lifelong dream is to become a famous Beijing opera singer.

Set in a period from the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) until after the founding of the PRC in 1949, the drama captures the history of a marketplace in Beijing and the fate of the many common Chinese folks trying to carve a living out of small businesses in those difficult years. It also depicts how the temptations of wealth gradually destroy traditional values and people’s relationships in those turbulent years.

The title of the show comes from the Chinese saying “the bond between buddies is strong enough to break gold.”

Time: 8 p.m., Aug. 19-21

Tickets: 380-1,680 yuan

Booking: WeChat account “SZpolytheatre”

Venue: Shenzhen Poly Theater, Nanshan District (南山区深圳保利剧院)

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