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Showing love with puppets

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-27 07:58

Showing love with puppets

Papa's Time Machine, directed by Ma Liang, will be staged in Beijing from April to May as part of the Meet in Beijing Arts Festival. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Alzheimer's triggers a time-travel play that a photographer dedicates to his father. Chen Nan reports.

One day in 2014, photographer Ma Liang and his father, Ma Ke, went swimming.

Ma Ke, then aged 80, a former director of the Shanghai Jingju Theater Company, which specializes in Peking Opera, kept asking Ma Liang the same question for a long time: "Do you know backstroke?"

Ma Liang realized his father was forgetting things.

"He used to be the most powerful person in the family and I worshipped him," says the 46-year-old.

Soon his father was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's, and Ma Liang decided to do a stage production dedicated to him. The theater production, Papa's Time Machine, finally premiered in Shanghai in October and has been staged a few times since.

Papa's Time Machine will be staged in Beijing from April 21 to May 1, as part of the 17th Meet in Beijing Arts Festival, one of China's largest annual cultural gigs.

Instead of having real actors tell the story, Ma Liang uses puppets. The play's leading character, Maguji, who is a dreamer and a scientist, makes a time machine to help restore his father's memory. Through this journey, Maguji also returns to his childhood along with his father.

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