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‘The Age of Awakening’ delves into the lives of Chinese intellectuals

The play “The Age of Awakening” revolves around the launch and development of Youth magazine from 1915 to 1921.

In an unusual experience, an early version of the play “The Age of Awakening” is being staged at the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center until September 12. A new edited version will be staged in October and November at the same location.

The piece, based on the 2021 television series of the same name, revolves around the launch and development of Youth magazine from 1915 to 1921.

It tells the stories of a diverse group of early 20th century Chinese intellectuals and ambitious young people, including Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu and Hu Shi.

The play describes how the Chinese Communist Party was created as a result of several social movements, including the New Culture Movement in 1915 and the May Fourth Movement in 1919.

The official version of “The Age of Awakening” is scheduled to be performed in October and November.

“The play gives us a chance to reflect on ourselves and learn about ourselves,” said Yu Rongjun, the playwright of the theatrical version. “These revolutionaries found the light of hopeless despair and created a bright future.”

Yu added that the new version of “The Age of Awakening” has a lot of dramatic tension. The structure of the play, according to director He Nian, was the most difficult challenge for the creators.

Unlike the TV version, which had over 40 episodes, the theatrical version was limited to three hours. They needed to simplify the stories while emphasizing the characters’ personalities. The removed storylines from the TV series will be visible to the audience of the play.

In a 2021 audience survey, “The Age of Awakening” received 35% of the votes for “the plays you’d most like to see hit the SDAC stage in 2022”.

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes