There’s a lot you could do with eight hours: you could fly from Beijing to Moscow, watch the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games or go skydiving.

Or you could watch a drama.

Stan Lai, one of the most prestigious theatre directors in the Chinese-speaking world, is presenting a new production of A Dream Like a Dream, his eight-hour masterwork that debuted in 2000. The long stage time makes presentations of A Dream Like a Dream both rare and expensive. It also takes determined viewers to make it to the end.

The play is a combination of stories that share common threads in the cycle of life.

Xiao Mei is a medical intern placed in charge of five patients on her first day of duty. Unfortunately, four out of the five died soon while the fifth is never diagnosed. Xiao Mei tries to save the patient by keeping him talking and listening to stories of his past.

And that’s where the complicated dream begins.


“Aesthetics are different in the East and West. While western aesthetics are seen as linear, eastern aesthetics are a more round shape,” Lai said.

The costumes for the show are designed and produced by Ye Jintian, winner of an Oscar for Best Art Direction. The 30 performers will switch through more than 400 costumes throughout the production.

A Dream Like a Dream’s a magnificent story crosses through the early Republican era and into modern times with stops in Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Paris and Normandy. The show was a huge success during its Asian tour last year and is full of deep thoughts for the holiday season and year end.

Poly Theatre
Through December 28
4 Dongzhimen Nan Dajie, Dongcheng
180-1,280 yuan, 80 yuan for students

Yang Xin

About Yang Xin

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Yang Xin is a '90s girl who is obsessed with music, tennis, reading and pretty boys. She hopes her life and career will take her around the world.

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