Wilderness is a modern Chinese classic written by the most outstanding dramatist in the history of modern Chinese literature, Cao Yu, completed in 1937. Beneath this seemingly straightforward story about retribution lies a deep and vast spectrum of human emotions, as well as the complex and distinctive personalities of the characters. It does not stop at exposing the corrupt side of the feudal system and the yearning of the oppressed and devastated farmers for a better life, but to dwell deeper into the complexity and multifaceted nature of humanity. Despite it has being considered the most profound and most controversial work by Cao Yu, Wilderness is also filled with rich and colorful images: the vast wilderness, a dreamland paved with gold, a dark and mysterious forest, a railway track that stretches towards the horizon, nightmarish ghosts and evil spirits. All these demonstrate the complexity of Cao Yu’s innermost thoughts that are just waiting to be savored and understood.
With the stage design, Liu Xingling want to express, as author writes in the play “The earth is gloomy, life hiding inside.” The distant horizon is like a hope that cannot be achieved, and the overlapping of the sharp lines of grass,the actors or house are the metaphors for brutality and killings. Under all of this is the world of people living. Liu Xinglin’s work points out for the fact that China has been facing unprecedented change and the influence of Globalization. In the conflict between the traditional and the modern culture, the challenge for the scenography is how to interpret the local historical heritage from a contemporary position and create a new style. That is an important question the designer must to pursuit for the answer.
Wilderness production collaborators
Set design: Liu Xinglin
Costume design: Wang Hongyi
Lighting design: Hu Yaohui
Director: Chen Xinyi
Liu Xinglin graduated as Theatre designer from The Central Academy of Drama in Bejing with a Bachelor degree in 1982 and a Master degree in 1989. He is currently a Professor at the same Institution and the Vice President of the China Scenography Association and the Chairman of China Center OISTAT and The Curator of China National Exhibition PQ 2015. He has designed for a large number of productions including Theatre, Opera and special events as such as The Opening Performances of China International Costume and Ornaments Fair 1995 and 1997, and The Opening Performance of JIangsu International Costume Festival. Internationally awarded with the Golden Award of World Stage Design 2009 – Seoul – Korea, the Shortlisted Award of World Stage Design 2013 – Cardiff- UK, and the Honorary PQ 2015 Award for Performance Design.Highly renowned In China, he has received the following prizes: The Second Term Academy Award of The Central Academy of Drama ,The Grand Prize of The Second China Scenography Exhibition, The Third Term Golden Lion Award of Chinese Drama Institute, The Best Stage Design of The Third Beijing Opera Festival of China, The Best Stage Design of The Sixth China Theatre Festival, The Award of China Ministry of Culture ,The Best Stage Design of The Beijing International Exprimental Theatre Festival and Forum, The Best Stage Design of The China Children’s Theatre Festival , The Academy Award of the China Scenography Association in 1999 and 2003,The Best Stage Design of China Drama Festival, The Excellent Drama Artist Award of China Ministry of Culture in 2007,