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).
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