Comedy about Shanghai dating game

By Michelle Zhang
Updated: 2006-12-26 09:08

Some people say Shanghai is heaven. Others say it is hell. The city is filled with people from other parts of the country, and the world. They admire the city's prosperity, but face great pressure from both work and life. They say Shanghai isn't a place where people easily find happiness.

"That's true," says young director Guo Hua who is busy preparing his maiden play "My Girlfriend's Name is Ruhua," a comedy to be staged at Shanghai Grand Theater beginning January 1.

"Happiness is what people want most in a city like Shanghai, something that they keep on looking for."

At the beginning of a new year, Guo and his young fellow workers want to bring some simple happiness to the audience.

Either fresh graduates from the Shanghai Theater Academy or loyal drama lovers, a majority of the actors and staff are not locals who come to Shanghai from around the country and decide to stay. How are they faring in Shanghai?

Adapted from the most popular comedy in Beijing in 2002, "My Girlfriend's Name is Ruhua" tells about Internet mating, striving after money, cohabiting - everything that interests young people.

"Bun," a 25-year-old single man with zero dating experience, rents a big house and decides to find others on the Internet to share the rent. He especially hopes one of the tenants will be a beautiful girl who will take one of the rooms.

A lot of candidates turn up, including three men of different occupations and social levels, and Ruhua, a really stunning woman. Since the Bun and the other three guys all want to date Ruhua, a series of jokes and miscommunications are inevitable.

"The play is funny, vigorous and fast-paced," says Guo.

"We have adopted some very humorous ways to illustrate young people's living status today, for example, their troubles finding a place to say, and their opinions on money and relationships. We have also added some popular new terms in use among young people.

"You don't have to think too much about the theme or the deeper meaning - just sit there, watch and laugh as loud as you want," he says.

This laugh-a-minute play will be presented by nine young actors who are working hard to survive in the city by themselves.

"I have been studying and working in Shanghai for several years," says Zhu Chidan, a local TV compere who plays the leading role of Ruhua. "I have really fallen deeply in love with Shanghai but somehow I feel that to many people in this city, love is nothing but a dream out of reach.

"Some people come to the city and choose to stay just like me; others leave after a short while," she says, pondering.

But after all, it is a play for everyone, men and women, young and old, anyone who wishes to smile and laugh in the theater for a joyous holiday night - or perhaps especially for those who choose to stay in the city instead of going back to their hometown during the festive season.

My Girlfriend's Name is Ruhua
Date: January 1-7, 10-14, 17-20, 7:30pm
Tickets: 100 yuan
Tel: 021-62172426
Venue: Studio Theater, Shanghai Grand Theater, 200 People's Ave.