Home » The Wilderness: Beijing People’s Art Theater’s Symbolic Masterpiece Returns for a Third Round of Performances

The Wilderness: Beijing People’s Art Theater’s Symbolic Masterpiece Returns for a Third Round of Performances

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The Beijing People’s Art Theater has begun the third round of performances for its new version of “The Wilderness” at the Caoyu Theater. Directed by Yan Rui and created by Zhang Keying, Jin Han, and other young people and art teams, this rendition of the classic play by Cao Yu incorporates multiple symbolic elements that extend the imagination.

“The Wilderness” is known for its distinct symbolic meaning and expressionistic color, setting it apart from other realist works. Considered one of Cao Yu’s most challenging works, it premiered in 2021 with Renyi’s fresh interpretation. The production explores the spiritual connotation of the play while also delving into the struggle of human nature and the strength of women.

Lead actress Zhang Keying, who portrays Jin Zi, describes her character as someone full of life and tenacity. On the stage, Jin Zi’s red dress becomes the only vibrant color, carrying profound symbolic significance. Throughout the play, various symbolic elements are present, such as a chorus of puppet characters crafted from folk paper art and live music that embodies the omnipresent fear and oppression found in the original work. The stage design, featuring scattered and tilted door frames and furniture, symbolizes the story’s inversion and absurdity. The play concludes with golden sunlight enveloping the stage, evoking a sense of open imagination.

Director Yan Rui emphasizes the importance of presenting a three-dimensional concept of heaven, earth, and people on the stage. He aims to bring a contemporary aesthetic experience to the audience by blending expressionism, symbolism, and realism. The young actors’ continuous performances and rehearsals allow them to internalize their characters’ essence and connect with audiences in a relevant way.

Zhang Keying shares her journey of understanding the complex character of Jin Zi. Initially, she found it challenging to empathize with Jin Zi’s restlessness and refusal to accept the status quo. However, after three years of portraying the character, Zhang Keying has become increasingly inspired by Jin Zi’s bold and extreme emotions. Jin Zi’s relentless search for hope amidst adversity motivates her to overcome obstacles and pursue her passions fearlessly.

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Other actors involved in the production have also developed a deeper understanding of their characters. Jin Han, who plays Qiu Hu, explores the character’s motivations beyond revenge and incorporates the power of love. Fu Yao, portraying Jiao’s mother, transforms the character from a single-dimensional “evil person” into a figure who evokes both hatred and pity. Lei Jia, in the role of Jiao Daxing, conceals resistance and yearning for freedom beneath a cowardly facade, adding layers to the character’s complexity.

“The Wilderness” will continue its performances until November 5, offering the audience an opportunity to immerse themselves in this visually striking and thought-provoking production. (Reporter Gao Qian)

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