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Date in memory sets creative stage

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-28 08:16
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The Xibeijie community in Huichang, Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, has been transformed into a theatrical village, with venues offering different atmospheres.CHINA DAILY

Playwright honors his father as rural venue seeks to establish a reputation in the theatrical world, Cheng Yuezhu reports.

Jan 10 is a profoundly significant date for playwright and theater director Stan Lai. During a recent news conference for the Huichang Theater Village, he spoke of its particular and poignant resonance.

On Jan 10, 1969, Lai, then 15, faced the loss of his father; on Jan 10, 1984, Lai's first-ever theater production, We All Grew Up This Way, made its premiere; and on Jan 10, 2024, he will celebrate the 40th anniversary of his theater career.

He selected this date in 2024 to stage his upcoming work, Flower in the Mirror, Moon in the Water, in Huichang county, Ganzhou, Jiangxi province, his father's hometown.

As a site-specific play dedicated to Huichang, the new production will be performed in a theater created out of the Wu family ancestral hall, a historical mansion in Huichang's ancient city area, where the audience, in both the venue's indoor and outdoor areas, will follow the story of a girl seeking revenge for her mother.

It will be one of the productions in a 10-day theater season starting from Jan 5 to mark the opening of the Huichang Theater Village, a project that aims to turn the county into a hub for theater practitioners and enthusiasts.

Lai's father left Huichang, where he was born and raised, for Taiwan in 1947 and then worked in the United States, without ever returning to his hometown. It wasn't until the 1980s, when Lai began corresponding with his uncle in Huichang that he rekindled the connection.

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