Children's Drama "Wish" to Debut at Moon Festival
   2013-09-18 18:13:36      Web Editor: Xu Fei

Actresses and actors rehearsing a children's drama named The Wish in this undated picture taken recently. [Photo:]


Today, a great number of people tend to spend their festival time partaking in a cultural feast at theatres and cinemas.

To meet the increasing public demand, the China National Theatre for Children will debut a children's drama called Wish, which will kick off on Thursday in time for the Mid-autumn Festival holiday.

The children's drama is expected to not only touch a nerve amongst those children watching, but amongst adult audience members.

CRI's Stuart Wiggin has more.

The children's Drama "Wish" tells the story of Tuo-ya, a girl from the Inner Mongolian ethnic minority, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Despite her illness, she aspires to be chosen as one of the people able to raise the national flag at Beijing's Tian'anmen Square.

However, as her dream almost becomes true, she finds herself disqualified from the selection process after it was revealed that she had secretly used a radio station telephone line without permission in order to seek help for a young blind girl.

Tuo-ya's mother had planned to take her to Beijing to realize her last wish. But Tuo-ya's brain cancer struck her down before she was able to begin the journey. As her life comes to an end, Tuo-ya tells her parents that her final wish is to donate her organs to those in need.

Guo Xinyang, the playwright of Wish, said that the character of Tuo-ya is based on the tragedies of two young girls named Xinyue and Heyue, both of whom died of brain cancer.

The story of Xinyue who wished to watch q flag-raising ceremony at Tian'anmen square is also the main theme of the 2008 film A Chinese Fairy Tale, as Guo Xinyang explains.

"I interviewed Xinyue bringing her some gifts during the time that her story was being depicted in a film called A Chinese Fairy Tale. Later, I found that she was always with the plush toy I'd given her as a gift. Xinyue passed away, however, I felt as if my promise to her hadn't been fulfilled yet."

Guo says the inspiration behind Tuo-ya's decision to donate her organs mainly comes from Heyue, a girl from the Zhuang ethnic minority, who donated her corneas after she passed away.

But Heyue was not the only inspiration behind Guo Xinyang's choice to create a character from an ethnic minority in a remote area.

"Children who grow up in cities lack respect for their life. In contrast, in remote, mountainous areas or in poverty-stricken areas, local children usually understand the concept of offering thanks."

An actresses and an actor rehearsing a children's drama named The Wish in this undated picture taken recently. [Photo:]

Li Mingzhu, a young Chinese actress, will portray Tuo-ya in the play. Li referred to the character she's going to play as a perfect young girl. And filling the shoes of such a perfect girl during the 40-day-long preparation period has posed a number of challenges to her performance skills.

"I think Tuo-ya is a perfect little girl and the saddest thing is that her life is short. I did have some difficulties in portraying her, such as how to display her emotions in an exquisite way, rather than try to provoke audience emotion without skill."

Tuo-ya's story appears tragic, but the playwright wants to express the optimism of the little girl and her last efforts to realize a dream that wouldn't die along with her life.

Guo also believes that such a story may enable children to grow stronger from a mental perspective.

"Some parents might think such a tragic play would be too heavy for children's young minds. In the observations of children, you'll find that children may become more mature after reading a tragic story, or after encountering difficulties or even misfortune in his or her family. Sometimes, tremendous changes take place inside of them and they become mature as a result of experiencing tragedy."

For those parents who hope that their children can gain some meaningful life tips from the drama, Li Mingzhu expects that her performance will gain recognition from both adults and children.

"It looks like a tragic children's play. However, we'll try to convey the positive, optimistic and uplifting spirit by which Tuo-ya cherished her life despite her fatal disease. So, the reward for this performance will be when audience-members end up watching with both smiles and tears."

Featuring Inner Mongolian-style stage design and costumes, Wish will be shown till September 21st.

For CRI, I'm Stuart Wiggin.

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