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A cosmic dream comes true

Updated: 2012-10-26 10:26
By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily)

A cosmic dream comes true

Stan Lai's (right) A Dream Like a Dream will feature actress Xu Qing (left) in its leading role. Provided to China Daily

An eight-hour play that's the magnum opus of a theater giant will tour the Chinese-speaking world in 2013.

A Dream Like a Dream debuted in Taiwan in 2000 and was revived in 2005. Its Cantonese version played in Hong Kong in 2002.

Spanning 80 years and several locations, the play weaves dreams and reality into a seamless, yet gigantic, structure that echoes the Buddhist beliefs about life, death and reincarnation.

Written and directed by Stan Lai, whose Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land and The Village, among others, are already modern classics, A Dream Like a Dream is less a crowd pleaser than a prestige offering of limited edition.

Part of the reason is the prohibitive length, which is divided into two consecutive installments. But more importantly, every show can accommodate only 500 audience members, who sit in the middle and have strips of stage surrounding them.

Even though every show was sold out, it has a cumulative audience of only 3,000 people so far.

Inspired by his journey to the Buddhist birthplace of India, Lai constructs a cosmic framework that embodies his faith, philosophy and reflections on modern history.

"Its narrative technique won over the audience despite the length," writes a review in Yazhou Zhoukan (Asia Weekly).

"The epiphany Stan Lai got under a bodhi tree in India about the circle of life has gotten a new lease on life in the hearts of the audience."

The 2013 tour will go to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong province's Shenzhen, Taipei and Singapore.

It will again feature a starry cast, this time including Xu Qing, Zhang Jingchu and regulars of Lai's theater Ismene Ting and Chung-heng Chu.

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