Posted by Joel Martinsen on Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 7:00 PM
The second time as farce
Drawing inspiration from a best-selling Japanese manga adaptation of Das Kapital, Chinese theater producers are planning to bring Marx's masterpiece to the stage.
Yang Shaolin, general manager of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, told the Wen Hui Bao that, together with Fudan University economics professor Zhang Jun and other experts, he is preparing a dramatization of Das Kapital. They've already decided on a director: He Nian, who directed the stage adaptation of the hit martial-arts spoof My Own Swordsman (武林外传).
He Nian says he will combine elements from animation, Broadway musicals, and Las Vegas stage shows to bring Marx's economic theories to life as a trendy, interesting, and educational play.
Can it be done?
As bizarre as this may sound, a theatrical Das Kapital is not an unprecedented undertaking. Japanese writer, translator, and civil servant Sakamoto Masaru (阪本勝) wrote a mammoth stage adaptation of Marx's masterpiece (戯曲資本論, 1931) that was translated into Chinese by Fei Mingjun and published in 1949 as A Dramatic Capital (戏剧资本论).
Links and Sources
Jobs in China
Henry on The Eurasian Face
Caroline W on Big in China
Michael on Julia Lovell on translating Lu Xun's complete fiction: "His is an angry, searing vision of China"
Brandon K. on Clueless academic takes on popular fantasy novels
China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
Books on China
The Eurasian Face : Blacksmith Books, a publishing house in Hong Kong, is behind The Eurasian Face, a collection of photographs by Kirsteen Zimmern. Below is an excerpt from the series:
Big in China: An adapted excerpt from Big In China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising A Family, Playing The Blues and Becoming A Star in China, just published this month. Author Alan Paul tells the story of arriving in Beijing as a trailing spouse, starting a blues band, raising kids and trying to make sense of China.
Pallavi Aiyar's Chinese Whiskers: Pallavi Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, a modern fable set in contemporary Beijing, will be published in January 2011. Aiyar currently lives in Brussels where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. Below she gives permissions for an excerpt.
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Korean history doesn't fly on Chinese TV screens (2007.09): SARFT puts the kibbosh on Korean historical dramas.
+ Religion and government in an uneasy mix (2008.03): Phoenix Weekly (凤凰周刊) article from October, 2007, on government influence on religious practice in Tibet.
+ David Moser on Mao impersonators (2004.10): I first became aware of this phenomenon in 1992 when I turned on a Beijing TV variety show and was jolted by the sight of "Mao Zedong" and "Zhou Enlai" playing a game of ping pong. They both gave short, rousing speeches, and then were reverently interviewed by the emcee, who thanked them profusely for taking time off from their governmental duties to appear on the show.