Wu Nianzhen, widely known as Taiwan’s finest storyteller, is bringing his classic work Midnight Taipei to the mainland for the first time.
Few drama enthusiasts on either side of the Taiwan Strait are found unfamiliar with Wu’s work. Hailed as the “soul of Taiwanese film,” Wu has many big-screen credits to his name such as Dust in the Wind, A One and a Two and The Dull-Ice Flower.
Midnight Taipei is Wu’s third creation in his classic drama serial The Human Condition. It was staged in Taiwan in 2007 to critical acclaim.
“Both sides of the Taiwan Strait need to understand each other and respect each other. We used to know about each other through TV and the media, which could easily cause misunderstandings. Stage plays and film fill in a communicational void by zooming in to the most trivial matters of life,” Wu said.
Midnight Taipei tells about the story of young people in the 1960s who are beaten down by reality while chasing their dreams in the big city.
The story follows three young men who go to work as apprentices at a private ironworks. While life is hard so far away from home – especially with a bully for a boss – they are lucky to have a kind-hearted landlady who treats them as her own sons.
One day they meet a beautiful girl who is working part-time. Social customs of the time called for reservation and honesty, and the three bury their feelings deep inside. Their youthful dreams break out one night when they heard the girl screaming when she finds the boss lying dead in a pool of blood.
The night is the turning point in their lives.
Forty years later in the present day, an unexpectedly reunion of the three evokes their collective memory: their hatred of the boss, appreciation of the landlady and regret over their dream girl’s fortune.
Wu said he has high expectations for the show’s premiere in the capital. “Modern Beijing has many young people who live far from home and find inspiration in their dreams. I hope to meet with them in the theater and warm each with a familiar experience,” Wu said.
Wu said Midnight Taipei is the most sincere work in his Human Condition series. “Each time I see the actors rehearse, I can’t help but shed tears. It’s as if I’m watching a farewell ceremony for my youth,” he said.
Midnight Taipei will debut at the National Grand Theater tonight and will play through January 25. Most of the actors are members of the original Taiwanese cast.
2 Xi Chang’an Jie, Xicheng