Specially Invited Plays
 Red Sky


Nanjing University of the Arts

Written and art directed by Stan Lai

Directed by Duan Fei


October 29, 2019, 20:30

October 30, 2019, 14:00/20:30

WHERE: Ancient Courtyard Theatre

Duration: 123 minutes (without intermission)

Performed in Chinese, with Chinese and English subtitles

A crucial element accounts for the immense dramatic power of the production of Red Sky by Nanjing University of the Arts, and that is the cast which, led by director Duan Fei, went to various nursing homes across Nanjing during the rehearsal process. They befriended the people living there and witnessed as four residents passed away. There can hardly be any more impactful acting classes for a group of young actors in their twenties.  

- Stan Lai

"A Journey of Life, Humor and Music."

Los Angeles Times (about the original play)

What Red Sky is trying to tackle is not some random incident. Rather, the play deals with a future which all of us will be facing. Everyone dies, but what is worth asking ourselves is what we can and should do before that final day arrives. Stan Lai’s Red Sky offers the audience no definitive, clear-cut answer. Instead, it engages the viewers as they are brought to feel the reality portrayed in the piece and are moved to

think. That is what makes theatre truly fascinating.

- Shu Ke, critic, Chinese Theatre Association 

Confucius said, “While you do not know about life, how can you know about death?” Seen in their old age, the characters in Red Sky nevertheless have those golden moments from their youth. It is a shame that we tend to ignore older citizens, or even treat them as if they burden us. In this play about life and death, performers portray a fascinating array of characters, old and young alike, creating a theatrical presentation that initiates dialogues about the world we live in.

An audience member

About Red Sky

Red Sky is a work Stan Lai's created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Performance Workshop, founded in the autumn of 1994. Lai chose to go back to his artistic roots—that is, to the practice of devising plays through the extensive use of improvisation in collaboration with the actors. This was a method Lai learned at U.C. Berkeley from Shireen Strooker of the Amsterdam Werkteater, which specialized in works collectively created through the use of improvisation. Lai used the Werkteater's work, Avenrood, as the basis for Red Sky, as an homage to his mentor.

The Nanjing University of the Arts recently inaugurated the “Institute for the Study of the Works of Stan Lai.” Instructor Duan Fei chose Red Sky for the graduation production of the class of 2019.


Written by Stan Lai, inspired by Avenrood by the Amsterdam Werkteate 

In collaboration with the original 1994 cast: Chin Shih-chieh, Chen Li-mei, Ismene Ting, Lee Li-chun, Teng Cheng-hui, Lin Lih-ching, Tao Chuan-cheng, Feng Yi-kang, Chen Li-hwa

Copyright ©️ Stan Lai, Lee Li-Chun

Directed by Duan Fei

Lead Producer: Yang Ming

Co-Producer: Liu Weidong

Associate Producers: Guo Feng, Ding Yao

Producer: Chen Jie

Executive Producer: Su Shan

Supervising Producers: Dong Bei, Zhang Fengsheng

Production Supervisor: Kong Jianming, Yang Yuanyuan, Guo Yucheng, Feng jinxiang, Chu Wen

Script Supervisor: Jiang Xiaohan

Scenic Design: Sun Zongjian

Lighting Design: He Yiyi

Sound Design: Liu Chang, Wang Kai

Make-up Design: Wang Wenting

Costume Design: Yu Zhonghua

Lighting Supervisor: Yuan Sheng

Video: Zhang Luodan

Speech Instructors: Su Shan, Zhang Bo

Movement Instructor: Yang Hua

Voice Instructor: Qin Jie

Live Recording: Ju Botao

Scenic Production: Ding Guomin

Graphic Design Instructor: Mou Mo

Graphic Design & Production: Wu Jing, Jiang Xue

Scenic Supervisor: Chen Jingyi

Lighting Operator: Zhou Yuqi

Assistant Lighting Designer: Zhang Xinwen

QLab Design: Dong Youhua

Sound Assistant: Qian Zixin


  Shi Yuan - Li

  Cheng Zhenyu - Jin

  Cao Yujie - Jin/Son

  Xia Chuanyu - Mai

  Cui Linfeng - Mai/Employee

  Fu Jiahao - Er Ma/Son

  Li Jiaxin - Er Ma/Chen’s son

  Zhou Xiaoyu - Mrs. Chen/Salesperson

  Xie Linxi - Mrs. Chen

  Guo Mengen - Ding/Mai’s daughter

  Yan Naixin - Ding/Mai’s daughter

  Wang Wenjing - Mrs. Li

  Li Jing - Mrs. Li

  Ji Meihan - Mrs. Deng/High school student

  Zhang Lingya - Mrs. Deng/Social worker

  Xie Anqi - Mrs. Deng/Social worker

This project has been supported by Digital Media Technology Co., Ltd..

About Duan Fei

Duan Fei is the Deputy Chair for Acting and Directing at Nanjing University of the Arts. As an actor, he appeared in The Enemy of the People Incident, a 2005 Chinese adaptation of Ibsen’s 1882 play. Duan Fei’s directing credits include: Morts sans sépulture (2006), Qiuzi (2015, National Memorial Day in Nanjing; Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Shang Yang (2015), and Red Sky (2018). Duan Fei founded Drama Breath in 2008.

About Nanjing University of the Arts

Red Sky was the graduation production of the class of 2019 at the School of Film & Television Acting at Nanjing University of the Arts. A contemplation of life itself, Red Sky presents on stage the intense and unabashed longing for love and beauty of a group of nursing home residents. During the four-month rehearsal process, the cast, under the tutelage of director Duan Fei, experienced the profoundness of life and death in nursing homes across the city of Nanjing, learning and pondering the meaning of being alive.