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Broadway musical shakes SISU up, enlightening some local drama clubs


25 October 2017 | By Xu Yechuyi, Zhao Honghui, Cheng Zixuan, Lu Xiaodi, Lu Jieyu, Dan Zengquji, Chen Siyu and Zhou Jiawen | Copyedited by Gu Yiqing

  • Murder for Two

    Actors performed for nearly two hours without a rest.

  • Murder for Two

    Actors played the piano by themselves.

  • Murder for Two

    These shows, themed “The Name and Nature of University: Rites and Arts” including orchestra concerts, ballet and painting exhibitions.

  • ART ON CAMPUS

    The Playbill.

T

he musical “Murder for Two” attracted more than 500 teachers, students and local residents for its only two actors playing even 14 roles during two hours with a piano on Songjiang campus of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU).

The performance was part of a series of international shows which started from September to December on SISU’s Songjiang campus. These shows, themed “The Name and Nature of University: Rites and Arts” including orchestra concerts, ballet and painting exhibitions.

“Murder for Two” written by Kellen Blair and Joe Kinosian in New York in 2013 was introduced to China in the Chinese language in 2016 by Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centers, one of China’s leading dramatic companies.

Lei Jun, the producer of the Chinese version of “Murder for Two”, said his team worked hard upon the localization when introducing the show. “We blend many indigenous elements into the show, so as to maximize the comic effect,” Lei said.

Lei’s work finally got paid off. The audience were greatly amused by the special interaction with actors and the ingenious jokes scattered in their lines. 

“Although it’s a foreign script, the jokes are easily understood and very down to earth,” said Yang Xiaohan, the student who was invited to play a role as an audience on the stage.

It’s the first time Lei’s team have translated a musical script. “There are huge gaps between different cultures, so what we do is to bridge these gaps,” Lei said.

“Murder for Two” is not Lei’s only work on bridging the gap. Actually, he and his team have also been outputting Chinese culture, including their latest work “Madam White Snake”, an original modern drama involving traditional Chinese opera and multi-media, and “Lu Xun Blossoms”, a physical theatre focusing on a famous writer in China in early 20th century.

Lei’s work has stirred up a hurricane not only in his audiences, but also his peers at SISU.

“The show was a great hit, and will no doubt contribute to the development of the musical clubs like us,” Guo said as an audience of “Murder for Two” and the leader of SISU’s drama club All That Musical.

Established in 2006, the club All That Musical has been persistent in bringing English-based musicals to SISU students and teachers every year. So far, they have performed some of world-famous musicals including “Mamma Mia” and “Legally Blonde”. They are now preparing for another classic musical “Ghost The Musical, and may stage it next semester.

The clubs name is adapted from the famous interlude of the Broadway, All That Jazz. Members of the club are all musical-lovers, many of whom are majoring in different foreign languages. Introducing works of arts from different countries for them is an enjoyment, while presenting them is another pleasure.

“Every musical will attract almost 200 people including students and teachers. Many people have told me that our performance ‘ignited’ their passion for musicals and foreign cultures. We are very proud of that,” Guo said.

While the club All That Musicals keeps introducing English dramas to SISU, another drama club Finalmente is exerting efforts on original scripts.

As the largest and oldest drama club at SISU, Finalmente has many of their original plays played  not only at SISU, but also in the international drama festival.

“Finalmente’s show is always very creative, full of passion as well as melting both Chinese and Western culture together,” said Lu Xiaodi, a junior student, who is also a big fan of Finalmente.

Last year, Finalmente took their original work “A Messed-up Story of Shakespeare" to Wuzhen Theatre Festival, the highest-profile drama festival in China, and competed with drama companies from all over the world.

With the language skills and international vision, SISU’s students now find their way not only to connect different cultures, but also to present themselves and Chinese culture to the rest of the world.

Lei is also impressed by SISU’s students. “Students here are very international. I’m looking forward for more cooperation,” Lei said with a smile.

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading