Chinese stage shows seek audiences in US

Updated: 2014-12-01 09:57

By LIAN ZI in San Francisco(China Daily USA)

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The CEO of Chinese Ticket Box sees great potential for Chinese theatrical groups touring in the United States.

Dai Qi's company brought The Nanjing Drama Group's performance of Find Zhang Ailing, an adaptation of Liu Kaiyi's novel of the same name, to Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California, on Saturday night. Dai wasn't surprised that the 600-seat theater was filled.

"It is too hard for Chinese overseas audiences to see Chinese stage dramas in the US," Dai said. "Because of the language barrier, only people understanding Chinese would like to purchase tickets to see Chinese stage shows in the US, resulting in a serious decline in box office and making Chinese drama groups reluctant to perform in foreign countries," Dai said.

But Dai believes it is important to fill the gap between the overseas audiences and the Chinese dramatic groups.

"The development of any kind of show has a process to train audiences and expand the market, just like the recent renaissance of cross talks (traditional Chinese comedic performances) in China that attracted lots of young and middle-aged audiences these years," Dai said.

Zhang Ailing (1920-1995), also known as Eileen Chang in English, is one of the most influential Chinese modern female writers.

Most of Zhang's renowned writings, such as Love in a Fallen City, The Golden Cangue and Jasmine Tea, deal with the tensions between men and women in love.

Find Zhang Ailing features GuJinhe, a big fan of Zhang's, traveling through time and space to look for her. Gu was trying to change history and stop Zhang from falling in love with Hu Lancheng, Zhang's ex-husband, who cheated on Zhang twice andnearly wrecked her life. The tragic love between Zhang and Hu featured strongly in the show.

Mark Yan, a Chinese engineer who arrived in Silicon Valley two years ago, became a big fan of stage dramas when he was in Beijing.

"But after I came to the US, I didn't get any chance to see it again," he said. "I am very impressed by the performers' acting skills tonight, even though the stage set was not as good as that in Beijing."

Next up for Dai: "We are currently negotiating with Beijing People's Art Theater and plan to bring the popular stage drama The Sadness of Comedy, starring famous Chinese actor Chen Daoming, to the audiences in Silicon Valley next year."