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Classic tale gets new treatment

By Cheng Yuezhu | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-20 08:10

A play from Beijing People's Art Theatre highlights the last 15 years of the life of Du Fu, a master poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-907).[Photo provided to China Daily]

Nearly three decades after Beijing People's Art Theatre presented the story of the "immortal poet" Li Bai in a play, that of Du Fu, the "sage poet", was brought to the stage in 2019. Both plays were written by veteran playwright Guo Qihong.

"Guo once said, that when Li Bai first became successful, many told him to write about Du Fu," recalls Feng Yuanzheng, director of the play Du Fu and actor of the protagonist.

"But he refused, for he thought that he was too young to understand the poet. The older he got, the more he liked Du Fu. That's when he started working on it."

Du Fu highlights the last 15 years of the life of the master poet from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). After the An Lushan Rebellion in 755 caused conflict across the Tang empire, Du Fu, working as a minor official at the time, was forced to live the life of a wanderer.

The director and main actors appeared recently at a rehearsal session for the upcoming round of 15 performances starting from Friday.

"This play is our theater's new exploration in presenting a historical theme. A highlight is that our approach is different from previous plays, including the stage design, the use of video technology, and the integration of classical and colloquial Chinese," Feng says.

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