To mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, the National Center for the Performing Arts will premiere its new play The Crossroad in Beijing on Oct 2.
Following the fortunes of four soldiers serving with the Northwest Field Army, one of the main forces of the People's Liberation Army during China's War of Liberation (1946-49), the production is based on real-life stories from the battlefield, according to Zhao Tiechun, vice-president of the NCPA.
Zhao says it took the NCPA two years to prepare the script for the play, which will run through Oct 6.
"We revised the script six times, and the play is now set against the backdrop of the winter of 1948. To collect historical material and learn more about the real stories of the soldiers and their families, we had to travel to many cities in China, including Huai'an and Nanjing in Jiangsu province," says the play's scriptwriter Li Baoqun in Beijing. "These heroes fulfilled their obligations and showed their loyalty to the country. We pay tribute to them while celebrating the birthday of the nation with this play."
The Crossroad opens with the scene of a blizzard hitting areas near the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers, where a decisive battle is about to take place. The stage set, says designer Zhang Wu, will feature many metallic elements-from "flying bullets" to railway tracks.
The lead actors include 61-year-old Wu Jing'an, who plays the role of Zhang Yuefeng. The award-winning actor is known for his work in both film and TV dramas.
"Zhang Yuefeng is a brave soldier, who encourages other soldiers to fight amid the flames of war," says Wu during a recent rehearsal of the play at the NCPA. "A man has to make choices at all times. During those war years, making a choice was a serious issue. He lived on the battlefield and had to make a choice between his family and his duty."
Other cast members include actors Hong Tao, Zong Ping and young actors from the NCPA Drama Ensemble.
"When you watch a play in the theater, you either get something new, which you don't know, or get something old, which you may have already forgotten. In the case of The Crossroad, we wanted to show the audience something from the past, which may not be familiar to younger theatergoers," says director Gao Xiaodong.
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