A new production of Rhinoceros in Love premieres on February 11
The Chinese drama Rhinoceros in Love, written by Liao Yimei and directed by Meng Jinghui, will begin its 12-year anniversary performances on February 11
by Daisy Li
Date Published: 02/09/2011
Rhinoceros in Love. Photo courtesy of the National Theatre of China website
Rhinoceros in Love has remained an active theater production for twelve years, ever since its first performance in 1999. On February 11, Rhinoceros in Love will stage a new performance in the National Theatre of China (NTCC). The production will be directed by Meng Jinghui.
Rhinoceros in Love is a story about a man Ma Lu (马路), played by Zhang Nian-hua (张念骅), who falls in love with a charming woman Mingming (明明), played by Qi Xi (齐溪). This infatuation leads him to do all these crazy things in order to win her love. Mingming's indifference drives Malu to a state of desperation, and one night, Malu, as stubborn as a Rhinoceros, kidnaps Mingming. According to the playwright Liao Yimei's production notes, Rhinoceros in Love is an allegory of the human spirit; it's about the fact that people in modern society make "wise" decisions to protect themselves, but these protections prevent them from having unexpected breakthroughs. She elaborates: "To love is for your own good. No one actually deserves the love you give at the cost of losing everything. However, love can help you see through the various false illusions in life, and reach out to the world as well as the part of your inner world that you might have never noticed."
One of the first experimental theatre productions in modern China, Rhinoceros in Love is considered a classic, and it helped the theatre industries in Beijing and Shanghai thrive when theatre wasn't doing too well in the 1990s. There have been over 500 performances of the show, as well as four versions of the show. The fourth version has been performed in 25 cities since February 2009.
The production runs from February 11-14, 2011. For more information, go to the National Centre for the Performing Arts website.
See below for a song from a 2006 production of Rhinoceros in Love: