The inexhaustible love of a mother

By Sun Shuangjie Source:Global Times Published: 2016-4-20 18:28:01

Three women act out a riddle of love and illusion in exacting physical theater


Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (SDAC) actress Sun Ningfang is not only an award-winning performer, but also the mother of an 8-year-old girl.

"After becoming a mother, a woman's attention will be totally focused on her child," Sun said in an interview. "Women have been given a gift from God, which is their sensitivity."

That feeling prompted her to do an all-female play with the theme of motherhood recently.

Going to Baidi, directed by Sun and co-written by her and her husband, Jiang Ke, features three women - Sun from China, Awesta Zarif from the US and Rebecca Etebopinil Agbolosoo-Mensah from Ghana - in a hard and hilarious journey to Baidi, an imaginary place based on Dubai, the wealthiest city in the world.

Going to Baidi features three women - Sun Ningfang (center) from China, Awesta Zarif from the US (left) and Rebecca Etebopinil Agbolosoo-Mensah from Ghana. Photo: Courtesy of SDAC

Tricks of love

Sun plays an unnamed woman who deals with hardships, trickery and risks on her way to Baidi, where she thinks her daughter is, because she believes that her most loved one should be living in the most comfortable place in the world.

Zarif and Agbolosoo-Mensah accompany the woman on her adventurous trip, and help her make decisions at critical circumstances.

"She is not a very clever woman, so she almost tries everything she can to meet her daughter, including some dirty tricks such as faking witchcraft to make money, and when she is abruptly robbed of her money one day, she thinks about robbing a bank," Sun said.

This all may sound crazy, but also reasonable considering her strong impulse to see her daughter, Sun said. The reason is gradually revealed in the show.

"The play buries a lot of mythic threads at the beginning, and as it proceeds, all the riddles will be solved," Jiang said in an interview.

The theme of motherhood can be very heavy, but Sun and Jiang chose a lighthearted way to illustrate this story. Inspired by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe with its impressive physical theater, the two explored the possibility of using body movements rather than props to create different scenes.

Explosion of physical energy

Thus, onstage settings are sparse, and the plot proceeds with more active performances from the three actresses.

"No matter if it's practicing witchcraft, or stealing a dog, or depositing money in a bank, all the environments are created though our bodies," Sun said.

She added that she had been exercising a lot to maintain the dynamic energy necessary for the play. The other two actresses were also chosen for their backgrounds in dance and performance art.

The play will also introduce two drummers to perform live for the show. It includes one set of jazz drumming and one set of African drums, helping alter pace and rhythm during the performance.

The play debuts at SDAC on Thursday and runs till May 8, Mother's Day. Ticket prices range from 180 yuan ($27.81) to 280 yuan.

Posted in: Metro Shanghai, Theater, Culture

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