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In the avenues and alleyways

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-03 09:53

The play centers on a day in December 1982 when a wedding party takes place in a courtyard in downtown Beijing, giving audiences a colorful cast of characters, with detailed stories, motivations and relationships.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Huang, 43, graduated from China Agricultural University with a major in biochemistry and molecular biology. He decided to become a theater director after watching Antique, a classic play by Chinese director Lin Zhaohua.

At age 22, Huang was enrolled to study directing at the Central Academy of Drama and now, as one of the most successful theater directors in China, has over 50 plays under his belt.

With his latest effort, Zhong Gu Lou, Huang visited Liu several times to discuss his ideas for adapting the novel into a play. Huang narrowed down the number of characters — about 50 in the book — to 20. The original nine families involved in the novel were trimmed down to four families, making the play about 2 hours and 50 minutes.

Hidden inside Beijing's traditional hutong, a web of narrow alleys in the center of the city, the courtyards, or siheyuan, are considered a symbol of old Beijing, since many have been replaced by modern skyscrapers. Huang also infused the play with his own memories of the hutong and courtyards of 1980s Beijing.

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