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Shining a light on history's heroes

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-17 06:42

Creative team members of The Unknown Heroes pose during a news conference on Wednesday at the NCPA in Beijing. The group includes director Li Bonan (third from right) and scriptwriter Hai Fei (fourth from left). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Stage adaptation of novel about unknown wartime revolutionaries to mark CPC's 103rd anniversary, Chen Nan reports.

A stage adaptation of Hai Fei's award-winning novel, The Unknown Heroes, will make its debut at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing between June 28 and July 1 with four shows in honor of the 103rd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, which falls on July 1.

Set against the backdrop of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), the play follows young revolutionaries in Shanghai fighting for the nation. Liu Zhiyang from the Beijing People's Art Theatre plays the lead role as Xiang Jinxi, a cook who is born into a wealthy family and who secretly works for the CPC. He dreams of going to Yan'an in Shaanxi province, where the CPC Central Committee was based at the time. His life undergoes a series of changes after his family falls apart due to the war, his friends turn against each other, and his romance fails.

Produced by the Shanghai Oriental Art Center and directed by Li Bonan, the play premiered in Shanghai between May 27 and 31, marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Shanghai, which fell on May 27.

"I still remember vividly that when I wrote The Unknown Heroes, I was writing a script for a TV drama, which was also a spy thriller. Though the stories were quite different, they shared one thing in common, their portrayal of a group of young people who, with determination and ambition, fought for the nation," Hai Fei said at the NCPA on Wednesday. "The scenes I included in both works were inspired by many articles I read about China during the 1930s. During wartime, hundreds of thousands of young people went to Yan'an, the revolutionary base, to fulfill their revolutionary dream. Their faith deeply touches me. For them, Yan'an was more than just the name of a place, it represented their belief."

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