The play Divorce is adapted from the full-length novel of the same name by Lao She, for which he had a special preference.
The novel, highly influenced by Lao She’s dark humor and authentic Beijing culture, is about the tragicomic life of a commonplace family. It depicts how Li, a civil servant, was involved in a trend in which everybody seemed eager to get a divorce. At that time, the concept of divorce was just introduced to China, which stirred up traditional families. However, in the perverted society of that time, no matter how solemn this kind of stories were in the beginning, they almost all ended up in farces. The importance those common townsmen attached to compromise, stability and their “reputation” prevented them from making the rational choice. In the end, no one was divorced at all.
The concept of divorce does not solely apply to the relationship between a man and a woman. It is also analogical to the struggle people experience deep inside between tradition and reform, reality and illusion. In such a struggle, a man/woman is so twisted that trance becomes a constant state of mind. Therefore, “I am in such a trance!” becomes the key line of this theatre adaptation. Stage art design, background music, and character design will all revolve around this key line so as to emphasize not only the dark humor of Lao She but also the “game” nature of dramatic art. In this production, actors will switch between different roles as well as directly interact with the audience. Moreover, elements of the authentic Beijing style will be adopted in the production to revive the dying tradition of this ancient city.
Adaptation: FANG Xu
FANG Xu was born in Beijing, and graduated from the department of directing of the Central Academy of Drama. He is a playwright, a director as well as an actor, with his most prominent achievement in acting. He has played a wide variety of roles in multiple movies, television series and theatre productions, leaving a deep impression on the audience. In 2010, he set up Ming Theatre and started his career in independent production. Since then, he has produced a number of plays including This Life of Mine, Cat Land, Divorce and so on. Enthusiastic about traditional Chinese culture and at the same time, influenced by the folk culture of Beijing, he excels in playing common townsmen.