New play shows Chinese woman fighting for her identity

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Drum Tower West Theater’s new play “I Am Not Pan Jinlian” will make its Shanghai debut during the Mid-Autumn Festival at the Shanghai Oriental Art Center.

Adapted from the novel “I Didn’t Kill My Husband” by Mao Dun Literature Prize-winning writer Liu Zhenyun, the production centers on the character of Li Xuelian, who takes on China’s justice system after being defrauded by her ex-husband.

In 2016, the novel was adapted into the comedy film “I Am Not Madame Bovary” by famous director Feng Xiaogang.

Ti Gong

“I Am Not Pan Jinlian” features actress Zhang Xinyi.

The play stars actress Zhang Xinyi as Li Xuelian. According to playwright Zhuo Bieling, the plot and protagonist are “faithful”, as more than 80% of the lines in the play are from the original novel.

Despite the “fidelity”, the young director Ding Yiteng created an exploratory and avant-garde style.

“This is the story of a woman who has been trying to prove her identity for 20 years. I hope to add humor and historical weight to the work,” Ding said.

The stage was transformed into a rotating table similar to a vortex.

“It’s like a vortex of fate,” Ding said. “When the rotary table moves, it entangles Li Xuelian and her fate.”

New play shows Chinese woman fighting for her identity

Ti Gong

The play is presented by Beijing-based Drum Tower West Theatre.

The piece also includes traditional opera, rap, ballet, contemporary dance, and even crosstalk.

After its tour in Shanghai, “I Am Not Pan Jinlian” will continue its national tour in cities such as Tianjin, Chengdu and Hangzhou.

Performance Information:

Dates: September 10-12, 7:15 p.m.

Tickets: 180-880 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Oriental Art Center

Address: 425 Dingxiang Rd, Pudong New Area

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