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The wait is over

By Fang Aiqing | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-29 07:20

Huang Lu (left) and Zhang Ruoyun (front center) star in Lin Zhaohua's The Three Sisters Waiting for Godot, which merges the masterpieces of Anton Chekhov and Samuel Beckett.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Lin Zhaohua recently revived his controversial play The Three Sisters Waiting for Godot.

In 1998, the director had merged Russian author Anton Chekhov's story, The Three Sisters, with Samuel Beckett's novel, Waiting for Godot, to create the experimental play, which, at the time, turned out to be a stage flop.

Lin staged it again from Sept 20 to 24 in Beijing, following 60 performances of the play in 44 Chinese cities since late last year.

Two decades ago, Lin started to write the play while he was recovering from an illness.

The Three Sisters tells the story of a late military officer's three daughters, who, after years of rural life, long to return to their hometown of Moscow.

The play cost Lin and his friend, stage designer Yi Liming, an amount of money that was enough to buy a car each-a luxury back then.

But despite the past monetary loss, Lin, 82, has brought back the play for a younger generation of Chinese theatergoers. Also, compared to 20 years ago, the play itself hasn't changed much and will test the modern audience's patience with its long rambling dialogue and unchanging stage settings.

In the play, the three sisters-Olga, Masha and Irina-sit at the center of the stage in a room made of metal frames, white curtains and no real walls. Each woman talks about her own life experience with barely any emotion and seldom making eye contact with each other.

In the play there are also Beckett's two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, waiting for Godot, while chatting aimlessly to kill time. Sometimes, the duo step back and become Vershinin and Tuzenbach, the soldiers that separately fall in love with Masha and Irina in Chekhov's original work.

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