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September 4, 2009

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Home » Feature » Art and Culture

Get ready for thrills and craziness

THE city's theater scene is always strongly driven by the market. Not too long ago, love (relationships, marriage and affairs) was the most talked-about topic on the stage, now it has been replaced by detective stories.
A large number of mystery thrillers, especially those by England's "Queen of Crime Fiction" Agatha Christie (1890-1976), have been staged in Shanghai in the past couple of years and are regarded as a guarantee of box-office success.
The typical scene: A murder or a series of murders happen in a place, such as in an old chateau or on a remote island, while all the people in that place are suspects.
The story revolves around everyone trying to prove himself or herself innocent and, to make things more complicated, the characters are killed one by one to add more suspense and horror.
"I'm Not Afraid," a play currently being staged at Shanghai Drama Arts Theater, is the latest one in this category.
Adapted from the 2004 movie "Mindhunters," the story is set on an isolated island, where a group of six FBI trainees is sent to for the final stage of their training period.
Their task is to find the fictional serial killer Puppet. However, the training goes horribly wrong, as the group members are attacked and killed by a real serial killer who proves to be one of their number. The tension rises ...
"What attracted me most about the story was that all the characters work in the same profession as police officers, while other similar works usually feature people of different occupations," says playwright/director Li Li. "Moreover, the job of police officers itself is very intriguing."
The setting, which she says integrates "4D effects," features two stories that is rare for small-theater productions.
"Get ready for a smash of the nerves," Li says. "It will strike not only the audience's eyes but also their ears and noses."
The 24-year-old says that it is a play "made by young people for young people."
The average age of the team is 25. Two of the actors are Li's schoolmates from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.
Adapted from film director Ning Hao's box-office hit movies "Crazy Stone" and "Crazy Racer," "Crazy Crazy," a farce directed by another Shanghai-based young director He Nian, will be staged for its second run in the city next week. It made its successful debut last year.
The play this time is a collaboration between director Ning and He, who is known as a "box-office guarantee" for his previous theater works including "Deer and the Cauldron" and "My Own Swordsman."
Talented Chinese writer Ning Caisheng has been asked to rework the script to make it "more entertaining and close to life."
According to He, some "detective elements" have also been added to the play to meet the expectations of the audience.
From costumes to settings, from hilarious lines to the use of montage techniques, the revised version will surely "make the audience laugh from the beginning to the end."

"I'm Not Afraid"
Date: through September 27 (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays), 7:30pm
Tickets: 100-150 yuan

"Crazy Crazy"
Date: September 8-20 (closed on Mondays), 7:30pm
Tickets: 100-300 yuan
Address: 88 Anfu Rd
Tel: 6473-0123


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