The New BNU Version of Thunderstorm Made the Debut
BNU’s version of Thunderstorm was recently performed at the Cao Yu Theater of the Beijing International Drama Theatre Center with great success and received widespread attention from the media and society.
This version of Thunderstorm was rehearsed by Beijing People's Art Theater in cooperation with BNU’s Beiguo Drama Club. The original play about five hours was reduced to two and a half hours. At the same time, compared with the other versions of Thunderstorm which focused on the description of characters such as Fanyi and Zhou Puyuan, BNU’s version chose to use “young people” such as Zhou Ping, Sifeng and Zhou Chong to connect the entire story. By showing their growth under the oppression of society, the director team attempted to bring a new look to the classic work from the perspective of young college students.
Thunderstorm is the first drama created by the famous playwright Cao Yu. It has a touching plot and distinctive characters, which focuses on the people living in modern China with compassion and carries Cao Yu's thought of human nature and the time. It is the cornerstone of realism in Chinese dramas and also a milestone work in the maturity of modern Chinese drama. Thunderstorm has been performed in the Beijing People's Art Theater for a long time, witnessing the repeated reunion of generations of audiences with the classic.
Cao Yu is the first director of Beijing People's Art Theatre and also has a deep connection with the Beiguo Drama Club. Cao Yu once wrote the motto for the Beiguo Drama Club. And in 1990, the Beiguo Drama Club, as the only amateur theater troupe, participated in the drama performance celebrating the 80th anniversary of Cao Yu's birth with the play Thunderstorm.
Image of Cao Yu writing the motto for the Beiguo Drama Club
Li Zihan, instructor of the Beiguo Drama Club, serves as the director of the new version of Thunderstorm. She said in a media interview, “Everyone in the Beiguo Club feels very honored to be able to perform on the Caoyu Theater and the stage of Beijing People's Art Theater."
Tang Ye, the art director of the new Thunderstorm, used to co-direct the new version of Thunderstorm with famous performing artist Pu Cunxin in 2021. She said that different teams have different interpretations of Thunderstorm. This collaboration with college students enabled her to perceive the students' love for the stage and their wild imagination for art. During the rehearsal, the guidance team from Beijing People's Art Theater thought highly of the artistic creativity of BNU students, and at the same time provided professional instruction to the students for their first appearance on the stage.
Zhu Shaopeng, another art director, said that allowing students to go out of campus and performing on professional stages will give them a deeper understanding of drama art. “By this cooperation, some young people began to watch drama and love drama, which is of great significance.”
Chen Zhaoyi（acted Sifeng）, a student of the class of 2021 at BNU, accepted an interview. She said that during the two-month rehearsal, the students watched videos of multiple versions of Thunderstorm to learn the performance methods from the performers before. They also got much inspiration from the collaboration.
After the performance, from October 25th to 27th, the play will continue to be performed at the Beiguo Theater of BNU.