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Drama receives warm response for Taiwan’s cultural icon Wu Nien-jen

By Han Bingbin | China Daily | Updated: 2015-02-26 07:39

Drama receives warm response for Taiwan’s cultural icon Wu Nien-jen

Taipei at Midnight is Wu Nien-jen's latest exploration onstage, following his success in writing and filmmaking. The drama shows the lives of people among Taiwan's lower-income groups.[Photo provided to China Daily]


Taiwan's cultural icon Wu Nien-jen brings his stage drama to Beijing and receives a warm response, Han Bingbin reports.

Wu Nien-jen wears a number of professional titles. He is a five-time winner of Taiwan's prestigious Golden Horse Award for best original and adapted film scripts. He's also a successful TV producer and host, a credible actor and a best-selling author.

He is known on the Chinese mainland as "Taiwan's best storyteller". His deep insights into human emotions and social changes blossom in his books, movie scripts and even the song lyrics he writes. Recently, he tested a new genre of art with his mainland fans - drama.

Taipei at Midnight is the first of Wu's "human condition" drama series to reach mainland audiences.

Opening to a warm reception at Beijing's National Center for the Performing Arts in late January, the play touched the hearts of many with Wu's typically delicate portrait of Taiwan's lower-class society. In it, three penniless young dreamers are shown to have their fate tossed around by the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Taipei while pursing love and inner peace.

The story evolves in 1960s Taiwan and has borrowed many elements from Wu's personal experiences. Taiwan's rocketing economy back then allowed many young people like Wu to leave their rural homes to seek their future in the cities. In Wu's words, it was a time when they had their "self-esteem challenged by mean bosses" yet still dared to dream of successes that might appear small but are fulfilling.

While switching between different jobs, Wu went to an evening college where he started writing. Life would have been very different if he hadn't been so passionate about literature.

Born to a coal miner's family in rural Taiwan, Wu's childhood was hardly a resourceful one and the few things he remembered trying so desperately to get were books, even novels from the former Soviet Union that were considered politically incorrect.

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