Dramatic monologue

With his stage adaptation of Lao She’s classic novella This Life of Mine, actor-director Fang Xu continues to celebrate the work of the renowned author, Chen Nan reports.

He is a low-ranking policeman, born and raised in Beijing. He has waited for years to become the head of his local police station but is replaced by a new policeman. He gets married but his wife runs away with his best friend. Soon after, he is sent to work in a small town, where he is later told that his son has died.

It’s the story of Fuhai, the protagonist of This Life of Mine, a novella by renowned Chinese writer Lao She (1899-1966), which was published in 1937.

The novella chronicles the life story of Fuhai which is set against the backdrop of the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It was adapted into a monologue of the same name by actor-director Fang Xu and premiered at the Central Academy of Drama, from where Fang graduated in 2011.

Enlisting Shu Yi, the son of Lao She, as a consultant, Fang directed and performed the monologue himself, before embarking on a nationwide tour with around 60 shows after its debut.

To mark the 120th anniversary of Lao She’s birth this year, Fang decided to revive the work for the stage on July 27 and 28 at the Capital Theater in Beijing following a three-year hiatus.

“Back in 2011, when I discussed the idea of turning This Life of Mine into a monologue, my colleagues were not really sure about the idea since it was a challenge to tell a man’s life story onstage within the space of 100 minutes all on my own, “recalls the 53-year-old Beijing native. “But I was insistent and it turned out to be the right decision.

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