Theatre UNB Presents
by David Hare
Mar. 30-Apr. 2
Theatre UNB is set to present one of the most ambitious and
fascinating plays the company has staged in recent years. Fanshen, by
renowned British playwright David Hare, is a documentary drama about the
tumultuous period in Chinese history that followed the Communist Party's victory
in the country's Civil War of the late 1940s.
Adapted from a book of the same title by William Hinton, an American who witnessed the revolution in China firsthand, Fanshen examines these events by looking at how they affected the people of a single village named Long Bow. Beginning with the reprisals the desperately poor peasants of the village took against the military rulers and landlords who persecuted them for so long, the play subsequently depicts their attempts to replace the feudal system they lived under with a populist, participatory form of government, and to adapt to a social order that has been utterly transformed. With the Communist Party's policies constantly changing, the play documents a seemingly endless cycle of new measures and countermeasures that fail to create the hope for egalitarian society and instead lead to abuse of power, recriminations, and turmoil.
Fanshen depicts the aftermath of the revolution in unflinching detail, with the violence, chaos, disillusionment and failures that marked the time shown alongside its utopianism and triumphs. With much of the Middle East and North Africa in the midst of uprisings against authoritarian rule, Fanshen is a timely play that asks important questions: after the revolution, what next? And is it possible to create a system of government in which power does not corrupt and ideals are not betrayed? With China's recent emergence as a global superpower, Fanshen also provides a compelling look at the moment when the wheels of its rise were set in motion.
Fascinating in its historical and political subject matter and intensely moving in the stories of the real people depicted in the play, Fanshen is a truly powerful piece of theatre.
Theatre UNB's production features a cast of nineteen student actors directed by Len Falkenstein. Fanshen runs Wednesday, March 30 through Saturday, April 2, with performances at 8 PM nightly at Memorial Hall on the UNB campus. Tickets are $10 regular ($6 for students) and are available at the door. For more information phone 447-3078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org