Intl. Theater Life Festival shows diverse plays

Writer: Guo Huaner, Lin Songtao  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-04-12

Organized by the Bay Opera of Shenzhen and OH Bay, the second International Theater Life Festival features 19 breathtaking stage productions in 55 performances centered on five themes: Refreshing Classics, Emerging Pioneers, Family Time, Forever Shakespeare and Stage Russia, at the Bay Opera of Shenzhen from April to July.

Refreshing Classics

A fantastic musical experience you’ll not want to miss is the Chinese version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless work “The Phantom of the Opera.” The musical follows the story of a mysterious, masked musical genius who is madly in love with a gorgeous soprano. The performance in Shenzhen from June 13 to July 2 will open its China tour.

“The Phantom of the Opera” Photos courtesy of the organizers

Adapted from the eponymous historical novel by Chinese award-winning writer Ma Boyong, “Two Capitals Fifteen Days” draws inspiration from a real-life incident that happened to a prince during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The play features a cast of over 200 characters and 400 costumes and prop designs, boasting a top-notch team of industry professionals to provide an immersive experience for theatergoers.

“The Lying Artist”

If you’re seeking a light-hearted way to spend the May Day holiday, “The Lying Artist,” which tells a story of revenge by Chinese comedy icon producer Mahua Fun Age, is a highly recommended option. Also, the stage play adapted from a classic novel “The Virtual Clown” by Japanese best-selling novelist Higashino Keigo will be performed May 13.

The widely anticipated Chinese musical adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s masterpiece, “Letter From an Unknown Woman,” scheduled for May 30, promises an unparalleled theatrical experience. The production’s novel approach to music and choreography presents a complex image that will leave you deeply moved.

Another musical “The Brothers Karamazov” will be staged July 28 and 29. It’s a riveting account of a family tragedy centered around a father and his sons based on the work by Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and was highly appreciated following its premiere in Shanghai.

Emerging Pioneers

Get ready for the two incredible plays co-produced by the Bay Opera of Shenzhen and the Drum Tower West Theater from May 19 to 21. The first piece is the suspenseful drama “A Broken Suspense” written and directed by Wang Zichuan, a talented rising star in the industry.

“Listen to Your Inner Ape.”

It is followed by the one-man show “Listen to Your Inner Ape.” Inspired by the short story “A Report to an Academy” by Bohemian writer Franz Kafka, the show highlights infinite possibilities of theater through minimalist staging and varied performance styles, earning praises from high-profile celebrities and mainstream media.

Other productions included in the lineup are the new comedy show “Wang Zi’s Mimo Blind Box Show” starring Wang Zi, a mime artist acclaimed for his outstanding acting and characteristic style, as well as drama “Stuck,” or “Macédoine, Leftovers or Salad” by director Zhang Hui.

Family Time

As a multimedia theater production seamlessly integrating animation with live performance, the Chinese version of “Invisibles” (April 15) recounts a lively story about imagination and growing up by portraying a timid girl, Mia, who overcomes her fears by imagining an invisible friend. The show has a strong educational value which helps to nurture the next generation.

A scene from “Invisibles” which will be staged April 15 at Bay Opera of Shenzhen.

The children’s play “No, David!” (May 26 to 27) is an adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning classic by best-selling picture-book creator David Shannon. It evokes nostalgia for a beloved character, David, whose playful mischief reminds us of the unwavering love parents have for their children — even when they misbehave.

Moreover, the symphonic concert “Der Elefantenpups: Mit dem Zoo-Orchester um die Welt” (June 1 to 2) exhibits a perfect balance of story and music. The popular zoo orchestra sets off on new adventures to indulge in beautiful music, various cultures and warm friendships.

Forever Shakespeare

Having toured over 300 times across multiple Chinese cities since 2006, the monologue “Revel’s World of Shakespeare” (April 16) features distinguished theater director Joseph Graves performing different roles and reciting classic lines from Shakespeare’s plays in homage to the great master.

“Revel’s World of Shakespeare”

The series also encompasses filmed performances of “Hamlet” (April 29) starring Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch and “King Lear” (May 13) starring Ian McKellen who is known for his role as “Magneto” in the Marvel Comics’ “X-Men.”

Stage Russia

Filmed productions “Eugene Onegin” based on Alexander Pushkin’s novel, “Uncle Vanya” inspired by the play by Anton Chekhov, and dance “Anna Karenina” will be presented May 14, May 28 and June 2 respectively.

Booking: WeChat account “深圳滨海艺术中心”

Venue: Bay Opera of Shenzhen, Bao’an District (深圳滨海艺术中心)

Metro: Line 5 to Baohua Station (宝华站), Exit A