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The chaotic side of love

A loves B. B loves C. C loves D. D loves A. A tangled web of relationships is the main thrust of "Who Loves Who Cares," a play to be staged in the city next week.

Adapted from Austrian writer Arthur Schnitzler's original work "Reigen" (Round Dance) back in 1900, it probes various modern day relationships of people in different age groups ?? from those born in the 1960s to those born in the 1990s.

The Chinese adaptation has taken artistic license to somewhat alter the original story. Gone are the frequent sex scenes. In its place is more dialogue about the relationships. Six actors ?? three women and three men ?? will perform seven characters including a photographer, a housewife, an entrepreneur, a sassy young woman and her very tolerant boyfriend.

The original story by Schnitzler became well-known in 1998, when English playwright David Hare adapted it into "The Blue Room." "Room" starred Nicole Kidman, who appeared nude briefly in one scene on a darkly lit stage. It was a commercial success in London before it moved to New York the same year.

Before that, a 1960s movie, "La Ronde" starring Jane Fonda, was also adapted from the story. Both the movie and Hare's play kept the sex scenes.

"I was fascinated by the story the first time I read about it," says producer Bian Wentong. "More than 100 years ago, the author had already well depicted the philosophies of love and life."

According to her, the play has not only kept the "carrousel'' conflicts and clashes of the original work, but also added new ideas of today's people.

"When people of different generations are faced with the same issue, their opinions could be quite different from each other," Bian adds.

The play will discuss everything from the seven-year itch to affairs and gay relationships to older women dating young men. A lot of physical theater and dance elements, including modern dance, hip hop and jazz have also been added to better showcase the uniqueness of each character.

When it was first staged in Beijing last year, "Who Loves Who Cares" was well received by critics and spectators as "a unique and exquisite small-theater production." All six actors graduated from the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing.

"I hope the play could be as well received in Shanghai as it was in Beijing," Bian says. "It reminds us that we should really cherish people and the things happening around us. They can be linked to the infinite possibilities of life."

Date: February 24-March 15, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Drama Arts Theater, 3/F, 288 Anfu Rd

Tickets: 120-180 yuan

Tel: 6473-0123, 6473-4567


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