Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Liu Ye stars in new Chinese adaptation of ‘Les Miserables’

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A Chinese adaptation of the French literary masterpiece “Les Miserables” launches its China-France tour this weekend with three performances at Shanghai Grand Theater.

Presented by Beijing-based Magnificent Culture, the play is a joint creation by artists from both China and France, with famed Chinese actor Liu Ye in the lead role of Jean Valjean. His wife, Anais Martane, is one of the play’s producers.

Ti Gong

Liu Ye plays the lead role of Jean Valjean.

“It’s the first time we have worked together as collaborators,” said Martane. “The creation of a drama is like making a handicraft, requiring full participation. I’m the first audience when he (Liu Ye) plays the role at home.”

Martane said the biggest highlight of the work is that every single line and lyric in the play are from Victor Hugo’s original novel. French director Jean Bellorini was in charge of script adaptation and musical composition.

“Music plays a very important role in Bellorini’s creative philosophy,” she said. “A live band will be arranged during the performance.”

To interpret a literary classic that has been adapted many times, Liu naturally felt pressure, some of which came from the large number of lines.

“During the 3-hour, 15-minute play, my time on stage counts for about 2 hours and 45 minutes,” he said. “I drew on Brecht’s alienated performance system – while acting, I was also explaining the character for the audience.”

He added: “I try to give the character a unique Chinese expression of emotions like love and forgiveness.”

Liu Ye stars in new Chinese adaptation of 'Les Miserables'

Ti Gong

Liu Ye and Anais Martane take questions from the media.

The play is a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.

“After spending a long time with my wife, I understand French people’s way of expression,” said Liu. “I can use this advantage and help the Chinese performers understand the play and their French partners better.”

After the Shanghai performances, the play will visit 13 cities around the country through May. In November, it will be staged at the National People’s Theater in France.

Liu Ye stars in new Chinese adaptation of 'Les Miserables'

Ti Gong

The play is a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France.

Performance info

Dates: March 1-3, 7:30pm

Tickets: 180-1080 yuan

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater 上海大剧院

Address: 300 People’s Ave 人民大道300号

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