World on a Wire

New Youth Group

Based on the film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Directed by Li Jianjun


World Premiere, Wuzhen Theatre Festival, October 15, 2021, 20:00

October 16, 2021, 20:00

October 17, 2021, 20:00

October 18, 2021, 21:00

WHERE: Poetry Square

Duration: 100 minutes

Performed in Chinese, with English subtitles

About World on a Wire

In 1972, the German filmmaker, Fassbinder, directed the science fiction epic, World on a Wire, a story set in a world in three levels. The protagonist, Dr. Stiller, is an engineer who has created an artificial world, a simulation identical to his world—until one day he learns that his world is itself a simulation of the real world, which is one level above, and he is just an electronic unit living in artificial settings.

This 1960s science fiction film was permeated with fears and hopes about reality and the future 50 years ago. The Cold War era has become history, while the future depicted in the film is still coming true. We often feel that we are living in a virtual world today. Is Stiller-style existentialism still relevant? How should we make choices?


Based on the film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Director: Li Jianjun

Text-Adaption: Ma Xuan


Zhang Jiahuai as Fred Stiller

He Wenjun as Eva Vollmer/Maja Schmidt-Gentner

Cui Wei as Franz Hahn

Li Yuanyuan as Gloria Fromm

Wu Lanying as Herbert Siskins

Chen Laoju as Güther Lause/Fritz Walfang

Zhu Zihe as Einstein/Mr. Von Weinlaub/Police

Zhao Zifu as Journils/Mark Holm/Police

Sun Shuyue: the narrator

Lighting Design: Chen Xiaji

Costume Design: Wu Lei, Tang Chaojing, Wu Han

Dramatugy: Zhang Weiyi  

Video Design: Li Linkun

Music: Zhao Jiajing

Assistant Director: Yang Mingchen, Sun Shuyue

Movement Coach: Pan Xiaonan

Set Production: Zhang Tong

Camera: Gao Siwei, Wang Mengke

Sound Engineer: Wang Jianfeng

Stage Technician: Sun Baoping

Sound Effect: Yao Ruijie

Scene Editor: Chen Laoju, Zhu Zihe, Cao Yiran

Video Assistant: Zhang Yumeng

Props: Qin Keyi

Publicity: He Yuhan

Deputy Production Manager: Qin Xiaxin

Production Manager: Wang Qingyang

Production: New Youth Group

Co-Production: Syrup Sichuan Cuisine, INSIDE-OUT THEATRE

Acknowledgements: Liu Zhiqiang

About Li Jianjun

Li Jianjun is an independent theatre director, living and working in Beijing. In 2011, he founded the New Youth Group. Li Jianjun is an important practitioner of contemporary theatre art in China. His series of theatrical works reflect his concern for the living situation of ordinary people. He combines the historical experience of visual arts with the study of theatre media, which gives his work a distinct spirit of innovation. In recent years, his works have received extensive attention and controversial discussion because of their critical cultural stand and exploration of theatre aesthetics.

About New Youth Group

The New Youth Group was founded in 2011. They have created Madman's Diary, Say Goodbye to Your Shadow, One Fine Day, 25.3km, A Man Who Flies Up to the Sky, Popular Mechanics, A Brief History of Human Evolution, A Welder's Flash, and The Metamorphosis. The group is devoted to exploring new theatre aesthetics and using the stage art as a tool for intervening in the daily life of contemporary China. New Youth Group has been invited to the Beijing Fringe Festival, Wuzhen Theatre Festival, Festival/Tokyo, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen Germany, Italy VIE Art Festival, and Festival International New Drama (FIND).

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