For China’s theatre-goers who are obsessed with experimental drama, "Rhinoceros in Love" is not only a film in the genre they have been so familiar with, but also regarded as “the Bible of love for youngsters.”
Now, the masterpiece of Chinese contemporary theater will soon be set to begin its European tour, supported by China’s Ministry of Culture later in February, including Paris, Turin, and Vienna as part of Chinese New Year events.
Rather than a simple love story, "Rhinoceros in Love" is more about an allegory and concern for humanity, the inner world, and the values, significance and even false illusions in life.
It tells a story about Ma Lu, a Rhinoceros caretaker, who does all he can to win the heart of his secret love, Mingming. Soon, a toothbrush salesman brought two young girls, Honghong and Lili, to pretend to be Ma’s admirers in an attempt to make Mingming jealous. In the end, however, Ma's desperation results in a complete failure.
Ma declared his love for Mingming with many poems and remarkable philosophical lines in the drama, many of which have been regarded as true classics, even today.
Meng Jinghui, director of Rhinoceros in Love/CFP Photo
First staged in 1999, the drama has been performed more than 1,900 times in around 80 cities over the past decades, according to Meng Jinghui's theatre studio's official WeChat account. As a director, Meng has been seen as the most influential in his field for China’s avant-garde stage.
Marking the most distinguished representation of its kind among others in the history of China’s theater, the drama in five different versions has inspired a whole new generation, as well as influenced their attitude about love, dreams, and how they see themselves.
Having been seen in more performing troupes in the Western countries, the drama has played a role to not only diversify international audiences’ entertainment, but more importantly, enhance and further cultural communications and understanding between each other.
Now, this is the 18th year for "Rhinoceros in Love" to shine on the world stage, and the drama team regarded the European tour as a “puberty rite”, hoping a bright future of the ever-changing play is on the horizon.