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Laughs about money, office politics

AS the Chinese saying goes, "three women make a drama." In this case, three men make the drama happen - to be more specific, three Shanghai-based men.

Director He Nian, playwright Yu Rongjun and actor Xu Zheng have turned Karl Marx's classic "Capital" into a blend of farce, musical and absurd theater into a rollicking tale of the same name opening next Thursday.

None of the three has attended business school or studied finance. They spent nearly a year doing all kinds of research. They interviewed people from the finance industry, learned about good and bad experiences from both senior investment bankers and ordinary stock market investors, and most important, they read through Marx's treatise on political economy a few times.

"In a market economy society, you can't get rid of the word 'capital' no matter whether you like it or not," says playwright Yu. "It is part of our life."

According to director He, the play is very "Shanghai." "Shanghai is a city filled with fancy things that money can buy, and opportunities to make money at the same time," he says.

The leading role, played by veteran actor Xu, is a man named Capital. From what happens to Capital and people around him, the play depicts a man's relationship with "society, laws, moral rules, science and culture," Yu says.

"We would like to express the meaningful theories in Marx's legendary, yet somehow hard-to-understand book through the easiest and most lively ways," actor Xu explains. "From time to time, I feel like I'm performing myself on the stage."

Director He is very optimistic about audiences' acceptance of the play. "They will love it," he says. "It will be a surprise. It is by no means a deep, difficult play, as its name might suggest, but something light, fun, and a little bit absurd.

"It is a comedy based on real life, a play that will make people laugh, and think," he says.

He has blended a lot of singing, dancing, multi-media screening and other musical elements to make the play more like a "Broadway musical."

There will be the "Milk Dance," which explains the concept of surplus value, and the differences between exploiting and being exploited; there will be the "Resign Dance," which showcases people's rebellion when given too much pressure; as well as the "Dance with the Wolves," which depicts the complicated feelings men have toward money.

"To operate capital, or rather, to deal with money, is like dancing with wolves," the director explains. "You always want to make more money but you have to be extra careful not to be 'consumed' or distracted by it.

"I can't say the play will explain everything in the book, but it will certainly provide those who have absolutely no idea about money with some basic knowledge of capital, and how it is operated in today's world," he adds.

Office politics

Premiering tonight, "Run Miya Run" is indeed a drama about three women.

Adapted from the namesake novel that has been viewed more than 10 million times on the Internet, its subject is ever-riveting office politics.

Miya is a graduate from one of the best universities in the country. Working in a Fortune 500 company, the smart, easy-going young woman has gradually come up with her own philosophy in the office - "It's better to do nothing than to do a lot of things, but to make one mistake."

Applying this philosophy, she has successfully dealt with six bosses and while she is not ambitious at all, she always gets promotions. This reassures her about the correctness of her philosophy.

Miya's good friend, Xiao Han, works for a fashion magazine. She is beautiful, intelligent, and is always at the center of things, back in college or at work. How she manages to become the editor-in-chief in a short time is explained in the play.

Another friend, Su, is not so lucky. She is a "workaholic" who toils day and night to get what she wants. However, it seems no matter how hard she works, good chances always pass her by.

"I'm sure young white-collar audiences will see traces of their real lives from the stories of these three women," says director Ma Junfeng.

"It is a healthy, romantic comedy," he says. "There is no business war, no set-up, no sexual topics. It is more like a mirror presenting many people's everyday life."

Top Japanese stylist Ide Shintaro styles the actors. The cast of young beautiful people includes Lin Jieni, Su Yonghao, He Minhai and Lang Lin. The screen version of the original novel is expected to be released next year.


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