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A toast to those who imagine and create

Updated: 2021-02-07 09:50 ( China Daily )
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Best Playwright award winner Gu Lei (left), his son and director Meng Jinghui (right). [Photo provided to China Daily]

"I took my son with me to the rehearsal studio when I prepared my play The Creek Between Mountains, because schools were closed due to the pandemic," says the director Gu Lei. "He has inspired me a lot because my play is about the relationship between father and son."

Gu was named best playwright in the Zebra Awards for The Creek Between Mountains. He accepted the award along with his son.

Li Jianjun won the best director award for his play One Fine Day 2020, which brought together 19 amateur performers telling their personal stories. When the audience walked into the theater they were given headphones and signal receivers. They could listen to different stories by tuning into the specific channel of the performers' signal transmitters. Audience members had to make decisions as part of this theater experience.

The play One Fine Day premiered in Beijing in 2013 as Li sought to build up a different relationship between actors and the audience in the theater. Since the play's premier it has been performed by amateur actors and actresses.

"The play has evolved by itself and I love observing the reactions of the audience during the show," says Li, adding that he had not planned to restage the play last year since the pandemic forced theaters to close doors. It was not until August that theaters gradually returned to normal.

"We always get busy for the next project and suddenly, we had the chance to slow down and look back during the pandemic," says Li. "Some of the storytellers told of their lives during the pandemic, and that was warmly received by the audiences."

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