China Arts Festival: Stage plays vie for top honors at national awards
By Wang Wei, Ding Siyue
In the eastern metropolis of Shanghai, the China Art Festival has brought together the country's outstanding artists and cultural figures. This year, stage plays from China's frontier regions are drawing attention and applause from both critics and audiences.
One of the top candidates for the Wenhua Grand Award this year is "Mothers of Gobi Desert," a Yuju Opera show.
Adapted from the novel "Mothers and Us", the show also incorporated real-life events during the development of the frontier areas in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China's northwest.
"In writing the story, the playwright spent several weeks in Xinjiang. He talked with many soldiers and officers of the production corps. In the show you can see many episodes based on real-life events. We've performed the show in many cities and towns around Xinjiang, and the audiences' responses have been very positive. In the story, they can see themselves," says Xu Aihua, director of Xinjiang Yuju Opera Company.
Another leading contender at the China Art Festival also comes from western China. The dance drama "Avenue to the Sky" was inspired by the heroic efforts during the construction of the first railroad in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
In portraying the interactions between the builders and local herders, the show has adopted a sensitive and realistic approach. Its ensemble cast of nine main characters offers a panorama of the life in Tibet during the 1970s.