Degrees of separation

By Gan Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-13 09:31
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Degrees of separation
A scene from Red Rose and White Rose. Qin Hailu (right) plays the role
 of the characteristic "Red Rose". Photos Provided to China Daily

Degrees of separation
This Is the Last War tells a story of a man struggling with family,
 money, power, and reputation.

The National Theater of China is staging a series of shows that explore the complicated tangles of the heart and the vagaries of desire. Gan Tian reports

The National Theater of China (NTC) is now staging a series of four dramas about the complexities of urban relationships at the National Center for the Performing Arts. Red Rose and White Rose is an adaptation of Eileen Chang's novel of the same title. The story is based around the notion that "every man has two women in his life".

Office worker Tong Zhenbao discovers that his wife Meng Yanli, "White Rose", is having an affair with their tailor. It reminds him that many years ago when he was visiting a friend, he was obsessed with the friend's wife Wang Jiaorui, "Red Rose".

"When I was holding the script of the drama, I felt like I was cooperating with Chang. I was very surprised, that she could think so much about human love at the age of 24," director Tian Qinxin says.

Tian says that the "Red Rose" character should be passionate, but without too much "bad girl style", while the "White Rose" is innocent but wise. TV drama star Qin Hailu was chosen to play the role of "Red Rose".

Popular actor Gao Hu lends his talent to the drama in the lead role of Tong Zhenbao.

Degrees of separation

The backdrop is decorated like a Shanghai street of the 1940s and there is a 10-meter glass corridor in the center of the stage. According to the director, it represents the corridor in old Shanghai apartments, but it also metaphor for a man struggling between the demands of his wife, and his lover.

"The two separate rooms, divided by the corridor, are the two sides of a man: one represents his social responsibilities, and the other is his inner desires," Tian explains.

The drama has been invited to attend the Chinese Art Festival in Singapore 2011.

A recent award-winning NTC production, This Is the Last War, which tells the story of a man struggling with family, money, power, and reputation, was staged this Tuesday and Wednesday, It starred actor Lei Kesheng and actress Mu Ning. The play took the top prize at the country's The Sixth Best Dramas Competition of this year.

Ups and Downs is a tragicomedy about city dwellers who find enjoyment easily, but in their hearts, are lonely and helpless.

City Jiong Men also focuses on city life, but it is funnier. An architect Luo Hang dates three airhostesses at the same time. He can never be caught, because he knows exactly when and where his ladies fly, and he uses their time differences cleverly. When their work time changes, the three arrive at home at the same time! Can Luo survive?

Founded in 2001, NTC combines the former China National Youth Theater and China National Experimental Theater. Now, NTC has evolved into a platform where tradition meets modernity.