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Veteran theater director makes Wuzhen debut

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-10-25 07:36
Suzuki (left) and Chinese actor-director Huang Lei, co-initiator of the Wuzhen Theater Festival, at the opening ceremony of the festival on Oct 18.[Photo provided to China Daily]

It is 5 am and Tadashi Suzuki is awake. The Japanese theater director enjoys walking in Wuzhen, the ancient town of canals located in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province.

"There are less people early morning, when the sunlight streams through the clouds onto the narrow streets, stone bridges and rivers, and everything is so quiet and full of energy," he says.

Suzuki, 79, is in Wuzhen to stage his new play, entitled Springtime in the North.

Since 2014, Suzuki's theatrical productions, including Cyrano de Bergerac and Dionysus, have been staged in China.

This is the first time, however, that the director has brought a play to the Wuzhen Theater Festival. Now in its sixth year, the festival is presenting 109 performances by artists drawn from 17 countries from Oct 18 to Sunday.

Since the establishment of the festival in 2013, Suzuki has been invited to give master classes and workshops in the 1,300-year-old town.

"Every time I am here to join in the Wuzhen Theater Festival, I am happy to meet artists from different countries. I enjoy watching their performances. There is no difference at any age in the world of theater. I, too, am here to learn," the director says.

Suzuki premiered the play, Springtime in the North, in Japan in 2017. The script was written by Nobuo Kazawa around 40 years ago.

Through the performances of actors from the Suzuki Company of Toga, the 70-minute play tells the story of a young man who feels mentally and physically exhausted and locks himself up in his home-cutting off communication with his family.

This young man, who was formerly employed at an insurance company, has three men and a woman fighting to control his mind and, little by little, the four of them corrode the young man's heart, and ultimately kill him and his parents. Though the young man tries to resist, all his efforts are in vain and, in the end, he loses his life.

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