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Drama as dance in new production of 'Thunder and Rain'

By ZHANG KUN | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-17 06:39
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Two dancers showcase moves from the upcoming production. [Photo provided to China Daily]

One of the most famous plays in modern Chinese literature, Thunder and Rain, will be adapted for the first time into a dance theater production.

Produced by the Shanghai Oriental Art Center, the show will be choreographed by Zhao Xiaogang and is set to premiere on July 25.

Thunder and Rain — which is also known as Thunderstorm — was the first play written by Cao Yu (1910-96), the pioneer of the stage drama genre, in 1934.

Since then it has been widely performed in theaters, folk operas, TV series and movies.

"We browsed through all the important works of modern Chinese literature, and chose Thunder and Rain, because it powerfully condenses the problems of society in the past century through a series of dramatic conflicts one evening between two families that are the result of 30 years of events," says Gu Shengyin, producer of the show.

Zhao says at the news conference announcing the show: "The play is a suspense in which one secret is unveiled after another, and readers become intrigued to dig out the hidden past of the family."

"The challenge for us is how to peel away layer after layer, the secrets, conflicts and the repressed emotions of the characters, through body language instead of dialogue," he continues. "To achieve this we needed dancers who are also great actors at the same time for all eight principal roles."

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