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Japan's Detective Galileo on the stage

DETECTIVE stories, like those written by Agatha Christie, are extremely popular with theater-goers in Shanghai. Nearly one-third of the plays being staged are whodunits and thrillers.

However, most of them are very much alike - the theater turns into dark all of a sudden; when the light is on again, someone has been murdered. The group on stage goes about guessing whodunit.

But a different kind of detective story, Japanese fiction, will be staged from September 15 to 26 at the Shanghai Drama Arts Theater.

"Suspect X" is the Mandarin theater debut of Keogo Higashino's namesake novel.

It is the first production of the Cang Qiong Theater Company, founded recently by a group of students from the Shanghai Theater Academy.

"It is a mystery story that is very different from the stereotype that the audience is used to," says director Meng Yiming.

The audience will witness the murder scene and learn the murder's identity at the very beginning of the play. According to Meng, the story is not about identifying the killer but more about discovering the motivation behind the murder.

"There are very few detective stories that touch people's hearts," he says. "'Suspect X' is one of the very few."

Published in 2006, "Suspect X" is the third in Higashino's "Detective Galileo" series and is his most acclaimed work to date. The book has won numerous awards, including the 134th Naoki Prize.

The story is essentially the mental challenges between Manabu Yukawa, aka Detective Galileo, a brilliant physicist, and Yukawa's college alumnus, Tetsuya Ishigami, a high school math teacher who is a true genius in mathematics.

"The story happens between two extremely smart people, which naturally makes it more and more complicated as it goes on," Meng says.

"However, personally, I'm more into the love story depicted in the original novel than the reasoning part. I am very emotionally attached to Ishigami, the leading character who'd 'destroy' himself to show his deep love to someone."

Ishigami will be performed by young actor Guan Yu. Well-known local actress Sun Ningfang plays the love-interest.

The company plans to stage more works by Higashino in the future.

Date: September 15-26, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Drama Arts Theater, 288 Anfu Rd

Tickets: 100-200 yuan

Tel: 962-388, 1580-0308-323


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