Produced by Vertebra Theatre for the 2019 season
Screenwriter: Magne van den Berg (The Netherlands)
Actors: Wang Xueqi, Yang Yitong
Never once. Never once in the 56-page script do the father and the daughter truly meet each other.
They only make phone calls, where both talk, discuss, argue, or resort to silence. Sometimes it’s just a voice message. Sometimes you call, but I’m not there. Sometimes I call but cannot reach you. Sometimes I just don’t want to pick the phone up.
The conversation always wanders around one theme that both seem to know. Often times, when they don’t want to and cannot touch that theme, weather will become the only topic left.
A husband who lost his wife. A daughter who lost her mother. Yet grief and sorrow could never reach the other side of the telephone wire. The way they deal with sadness diverges into different paths despite a shared loss. The father remarried three months after the mother’s death. He is to put away old furniture and photos, because his partner wants new air in the space. On the contrary, the daughter’s memories linger in the house. She is determined to save everything, tables, chairs, utensils — everything, everything except the bed. She must throw the bed away. In the first few days after mother passed away, when endless longing pervaded the dark nights, she had laid next to father, keeping him company through the most difficult times. She had laid on that same bed with her father. All other items should remain in the home. It is only the bed that must be thrown away. The father holds a different point of view.
“Heartbreaking and beautiful. Everything is real, and as a result the performance becomes an intense emotional experience for the audience.”
Trouw, The Netherlands
Born in Germany in 1967, Martin Engler graduated from the Department of Acting at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch, and has been active in German-speaking and Francophone art communities as actor, singer, composer, theatre director, audiobook narrator and audiobook director. Aside from theatrical commitments, Engler has been teaching in the Department of Acting at Ernst Busch since 2000. As a distinguished theatre director, Engler is particularly sensitive to sound. For him, sound does not only mean rhythms and melodies; the combination of different sounds can trigger different memories and sentimental experiences in human beings. Having participated in more than 150 audiobook productions, Engler’s particular focus on vocal expression makes him a perfect director for Papa’s Bed, which needs detailed orchestration even on the tone of a single sigh. At the current stage of idea brainstorming, Engler conceives of constructing a museum of memory on stage and thereby creating a sonic and visual montage for the theatrical piece.
Born in France in 1966, Laimé left home after middle school for his pursuit in music and art. Without any professional art training in academia, Laimé “gains experience all the way through practice,” to quote his own words. In his early years, Laimé did concert and film stage design, and later became assistant stage designer in works by prestigious directors such as Robert Wilson and Luc Bondy. His encounter with German director Jan Bosse marked the beginning for Laimé in independent stage design. Since 1997, Laimé undertook the stage design of every work of Bosse, the productions of whom were well received in many renowned theatres, from the Zürich Playhouse, Maxim Gorki Theater, Thalia Theater to Munich Kammerspiele and Burgtheater. Aside from Bosse, Laimé has also worked with distinguished directors like Stefan Pucher and Ostermeyer, among many others. In 2007, Laimé won the Nestroy Theatre Prize (Vienna) and the German Stage Prize Opus in 2008. In 2011, Laimé was chosen as stage designer of the year in his stage design for Stefan Pucher’s The Death of a Salesman.
Tan Hua is a Lecturer of Lighting Design in the Stage Design Department of Shanghai Theatre Academy. Tan holds two Master’s Degrees in Lighting Design at the Central Academy of Drama of China and in Stage Design at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama of the University of London. Tan has won prizes for Best Lighting Design from the Dancing Association of China and the Stage Design Association of Shanghai.
Father: Wang Xueqi
Born in Beijing on March 19, 1946, Mr. Wang is a renowned Chinese director and actor. In 2000, Wang received the Outstanding Actor of Hua Biao Award from the Chinese Academia of Cinema Art and Performance for his work Forever Company. In 2008, Wang starred Shi Sanyan, the rival of Mei Lanfang in the film Mei Lanfang. In 2010, by his starring of Li Yutang in the film Bodyguards and Assassins, Wang won Best Actor at the Fourth Asian Film Awards and was nominated Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards and Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards.
Daughter: Yang Yitong
Yang Yitong is a 2006 graduate from the Acting Department of Shanghai Theatre Academy. In the same year, Yang starred as main actress in the TV series The Second Prince. In 2007, Yang temporarily withdrew herself from the entertainment industry to study abroad. Then in 2012, Yang starred in Breaking the Tong Fortressand Burning Flowers, both TV series with revolutionary themes. In 2014, Yang played in Never Falling in Love at First Sight, a modern-city melodrama. Her recent works include Coming Good Fortunein 2016, Midnight Eateryin 2017, andMeet you in My Youthin 2017.