This post is also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))
Poison is a well acclaimed play written by Dutch writer Lot Vekemans. It was first directed by Johan Simons during his tenure as the artistic director in NT Gent Theatre. Later the play was translated into various languages and performed in Europe, South America and Mexico. Johan Simons’s production was also invited by the first Lin Zhaohua Theatre Arts Festival (2010). The two performances in Beijing Capital Theatre was well received.
In 2016, Vertebra Theatre cordially invites Belgian director Jeroen Versteele to join this cross-nation production collaborating with well-known Chinese actors Luo Haiqiong, Hou Yan Song to present Poison in Chinese. The Chinese context brought into the original play will definitely leave the Chinese audience with a deep impression.
This is a story about a couple who are faced with deep crisis. The woman, played by Luo Haiqiong, meets again with her former husband in the cemetery where buries their only child several years after their divorce. The husband moved to Honkong after leaving his wife and started a new life while the woman remained living under the same old roof, intolerant of any idea about starting her life all over again.
The reunion is due to a letter which informs the two that the cemetery will be relocated because of the “poison” found in the soil. During the few hours, the former couple attempts to reexamine the past.
The play unfolds the very personal fates and happenings of the two human beings as well as their different approaches towards the death of their only child. A question about how to dispel？
By Lot Vekemans (Holland)
Directed by Jeroen Versteele (Belgium)
Starring by Zhou Yemang, Li Zheng
rEVIEW FROM AUDIENCE
“Although the story takes place in Western Europe, it expresses something universal: the journey of life is always beset with difficulties. The true hero, however, aware of the desolution in life, still lives with an indomitable spirit and has a deep sympathy for people and understands others. The play reminds me of Chekhov: The playwright reveals the extremely delicate inner lives of two middle-aged men and women with poetic lines full of emotions and wisdom, and such inner emotions guide the development of the plot, which reveals the nature of life.”
Mr Zhou Yemang performed especially well in the play: Mr. Zhou has been doing foreign plays for more than 30 years and he has vividly shown the Chinese audience the mentality of a middle-aged middle-class man from Europe. The stage is set in a clean and clear style, which, with the help of the inspiring lighting and stunts, effectively helps express the character’s mood and emotion. This show is really a good medicine to manage psychological trauma.
“This is a stage of only two people. It is about a thing that happened between the men and women ten years ago. The show lasts for an hour, but something that happens within this hour may never come to an end in such a short period of time. Maybe in the days ahead, the woman still can not forget about the sorrow brought by the car accident a decade ago, and when the man returns to his wife abroad, he will probably be engaged in attending his next child, and he may soon finish his novel about himself and the dead child. Sometimes people change easily: one moment they are suddenly struck by an idea and they change completely. Yet sometimes they can hardly change, even if after ten years. Although it seems that in the end the woman is somehow affected by the man’s emotions and is determined to start a new life, it is hard to say whether it is really possible for her to throw aside everything and start over again. There are people and things that could never be abandoned, for example, the child lying in the coffin in the graveyard. According to research, when grief exists in the gray matter of the brain, it makes up almost all parts of the brain of women’s, while merely a few points in men’s, which probably explains why a man can put aside grief in a much shorter period of time than a woman does and why women tend to remain sad. As a woman, however, I find it really hard to understand how the pain caused by the departure of a child can easily be alleviated. This show is not merely about a child, but about many issues, such as differences in the way men and women think and the way different people perceive the same thing. “
photos credit: Yin Xuefeng