September is a big month in the local theater scene thanks to the 2014 Beijing International Youth Drama Festival, also known as the Beijing Fringe Festival.
The festival will bring 100 performances of works by young Chinese playwrights to local stages between September 2 and 28. Among them is a dramatic adaptation of Hanhan’s novel 1988: I Want to Talk With the World.
Penned by the poster child for his generation’s literature, 1988 follows the story of a refitted car named 1988. Lu Ziye, the car’s owner, sets out on a journey to pick up his friend – the creator of 1988 – who is being released from prison. Along the way Lu meets new people and recalls old memories which intertwine to reshape his view of the world.
“When working on this adaptation, I spoke with Hanhan to make sure the story progression remained comfortable rather than forcing it along for the sake of drama,” said Shao Zehui, the director.
Reminiscence is a common theme in literary works by the ’80s generation. Much of the dialogue in 1988 is devoted to nostalgic recollection.
Hanhan said he believed his work would be hard to adapt for the stage since the book emphasizes character emotion rather than story. But Shao said he is confident that 1988 has more to offer in its stage form.
“There are sarcastic and humorous lines, emotional monologues, touching stories and delicate décor. We hope the drama could resonate with viewers of all ages,” Shao said.
Since its premiere last May, 1988 has won praise from both critics and Hanhan fans alike.
Studio Theatre, 2 Xi Chang’an Jie, Xicheng