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"Inception"-like theatre performance portrays overlapping worlds of Zhuangzi and modern-day scholar (with photo)

     An "Inception"-like theatre work, "Life After Life", will be staged jointly by 8CM Drama Factory and Jalent (Beijing) Culture Communication Co Ltd in April as one of the attractions of the 10th Chinese Drama Festival.

     The story tells of Zhuang Sheng, an assistant professor in the present day who studies Zhuangzi, the pre-Qin philosopher Zhuang Zhou from more than 2,000 years ago. As Zhuang Sheng deciphers the book "Zhuangzi", the world of its writer Zhuang Zhou becomes clearer to him. Back in the Warring States period, Zhuang Zhou resigned from his position as an official of Qiyuan. Upon his arrival at home, yamen (government office) runners chased him to his doorstep. The matter of urgency left Zhuang Zhou with no choice but to fake his death to escape trouble. But his life had changed completely when he woke up.

     The life of Zhuangzi in ancient times and that of the modern-day Zhuang Sheng overlap in many aspects. What would they choose and give up when facing lust, fame and wealth? Who can tell if Zhuang Sheng enters the world of Zhuang Zhou, or whether Zhuang Zhou dreams of Zhuang Sheng more than 2,000 years in the future? The concept is reflected in Zhuang Zhou's "Butterfly Dream" story: Is Zhuang dreaming that he is a butterfly, or is the butterfly dreaming that it is Zhuang? The two Zhuangs generate a new story.

     The playwright Pang Bei is also the writer of "The Name of the Nun" and a winner of the 2014 Yazhou Zhoukan Best 10 Chinese Novels Worldwide Award. The director Huang Kai has won the China Theatre Golden Lion Award (Director). Actors include Pei Kuishan, Wu Enxuan, Zheng Lei, Shi Ce, Huang Jinkun and Liu Qi.

     Since 8CM Drama Factory's establishment in 2008, the group has been performing small-scale productions that advocate maintaining just an "8-centimetre" distance between the audience and the stage. Over the past few years, the group has been striving to create and to introduce experimental plays of different themes and different styles, aiming to convey the best authenticity and aesthetics of theatrical art to the audience through the stage.

     In 2012, Jalent (Beijing) Culture Communication Co Ltd introduced the concept of cinema operation into drama by promoting its brand and its industrial philosophy across the country. It has produced more than 60 commercial plays that have been highly praised by the audience. Its representative works include "My 18 Generations of Forefathers", "Hi, Mike!", "Seeing Dad Again", "P.S. I Love You", "Hello, Burglary!", "How Do You Do, Madman!", "Mr and Mrs Single", "The Donkey" and "The Breakup Trip".

     Presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, "Life After Life" by 8CM Drama Factory and Jalent (Beijing) Culture Communication Co Ltd (in Putonghua with Chinese and English surtitles) will be staged at 8pm on April 8 and 9 (Friday and Saturday) and at 3pm on April 9 and 10 (Saturday and Sunday) at the Studio Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Tickets are priced at $180 and $280.

     Tickets are now available at URBTIX ( For telephone credit card bookings, please call 2111 5999.

     For programme enquiries and concessionary schemes, please call 2268 7325 or visit

     A post-performance talk (in Putonghua) will be held after the matinee performance on April 10.

Ends/Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:24


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