Director saves stage play by filling in for actor on COVID-19 quarantine
Published: Mar 13, 2022 06:29 PM
Wang Jiannan, director of <em>Spring Tide</em>, holds the script Screenshot on stage at National Center for Performing Arts in Beijing on MArch 12, 2022.Photo: screenshot from The Paper

Wang Jiannan, director of Spring Tide, holds the script Screenshot on stage at National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing on March 12, 2022. Photo: screenshot from The Paper

As shows and performances keep being canceled or delayed under the impact of COVID-19, a stage drama concerning China's reform and opening up was presented to an audience in Beijing in an unusual way on Saturday. 

The drama Spring Tide was scheduled for two days of performances at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing starting on Saturday. However, during the last rehearsal on the eve of the first performance, Wang Weiguo, well-known Chinese actor who plays the main role in the show, was asked to stay at home after coming in contact with a COVID-19 positive individual.

The director of the show decided to step up and fill the vacant role, finishing the performance by reading directly from the script.

"This was a one-of-a-kind performance under special and extraordinary circumstances. It couldn't be predicted. Please enjoy the show of this 'pandemic prevention and control' version of Spring Tide," Wang Jiannan, one of the directors of the show, explained to the audience. 

"This is an extremely challenging role and it's also very important. So I invited Wang Jiannan, the young director of the show who has had a deep understanding of the material as well, to replace the role," explained Wang Xiaoying, another director of the show.

The decision was embraced by a round of applause from the audience inside the theater. 

"Since the outbreak of the pandemic, theatrical performances have been canceled or postponed. Yet this one was different since the director stood up and saved the show," one audience member told the media.

The play tells the story of a daughter living abroad who receives the news of her father's sudden death. As she is cleaning up the stuff left by her father, she accidentally discovers a diary by him, but quickly finds the person it describes is completely different than the image of him she remembers. 

The story takes the businessmen in East China's Zhejiang Province in the 1980s as its background, telling an attractive story of how many people from that place created their own wealth from scratch and how some later evolved into business legends.

The story of Zhejiang farmer entrepreneur Ye Qingshan's start-up was depicted in detail, from the discrimination that he encountered to the success he achieved after years of efforts. The story is also a reflection of the true stories that once happened to Chinese entrepreneurs during China's reform and opening up.

"I know it's not perfect, but this is still a very special performance, telling us that there are infinite possibilities that can happen in theaters when encountering the difficulties in this period of time," Wang Jiannan said after his emergency stage debut.

Global Times