Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

Written by Cao Yu

Directed by He Nian


October 22, 2021, 19:00

October 23, 2021, 16:30

October 24, 2021, 16:30

WHERE: Exhibition Hall 4

Duration: 85 minutes

Performed in Chinese, with English subtitles


Wilderness, directed by He Nian, is a work that completely exceeds my expectations. It is probably the most amazing re-working of a classic I have ever seen, without multimedia (cameras, projections, etc.). He broke up the linear narrative of the original script, reorganized and rearranged it, and employed expressionist techniques with realism. He divided the play into three reincarnations and integrated many elements of dance theater into it. It was a great aesthetic pleasure for me.

– Chenxi, Wechat Blog Haoxi

Here, He Nian creates a piece that will appeal to the aesthetic tastes of the new generation of audiences, hoping that the classic Wilderness will be embraced by more young people. Taking as a premise that they wouldn't change the core of the text or the lines, the creators cut in the perspective of Qiu Hu and boldly adjust the structure of the play, especially focusing on the expression of the characters' psychology and inner feelings. In the form of performance, it adopts three periods of reincarnation. The first reincarnation is the general overview of the story, the second reincarnation is a more detailed narration, and the third one is endless reincarnation.

– Zhuge Yi, Shanghai Observer

About Wilderness

Out in the wilderness, Qiu Hu leaps from the prison wagon, shackles and all. Breaking his shackles, he prepares to settle the score with his father's killer, Jiao Yanwang. Qiu Hu finds that Jiao Yanwang is already dead, and that his own former lover Jinzi is now married to Jiao's son Daxing—himself once a friend to Qiu Hu. Daxing loves Jinzi but fears his blind, wicked mother, who is particularly venomous to Jinzi. The mother is made very uneasy by Qiu Hu's sudden appearance…

Wilderness is a classic work by dramatic master Cao Yu. Through a tragic tale of revenge, the playwright sheds light on both his philosophy of life and the winding depths of human nature. Produced by Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and directed by "National First Class" director He Nian, this modern version of Wilderness, with a new concept and form, makes the classic glow with new charm, earning it the high praise it has received since its debut.


Playwright: Cao Yu

Director: He Nian


Han Shuang as Jinzi

Wang Weishuai as Qiu Hu

Yang Jingran as Jiao Daxing's Mother

Guo Pengyu as Qiu Hu

Zhou Wei as Jiao Daxing

Feng Jiaye as Jiao Daxing's Mother and Jinzi

Li Yuqing as Jiao Daxing's Mother and Jinzi

Lv Lingzi as Qiu Hu and Bai Shazi

Stage Design: Sang Qi

Music Design: Wang Jiwei

Composers: Wang Jiwei, Li Kai

Choreographer/Movement Coach: Liu Minzi

Assistant Director: Li Li

Assistant Movement Coach: Zhou Ye

Lighting Design: Liu Haiyuan

Stage Manager: Xue Chen

Costume Design: Hu Xiaohui

Property Design: Zhu Chenqi

Technology Design: Qiu Songhua

Production Supervisor for Choreography: Zhao Ming

Stage Design Assistant: Zhu Yushuang

Costumes and Make-up: Bi Yuwen, Zhou Chengqi

Lighting Engineers: Gu Wei

Sound Engineer: Fu Hao

Stage Hands: He Zhengyu, Ma Weiqi

Lighting: Gu Guixian

Cast Managers: Lu Renjie, Wang Ziyi

Publicity Manager: Wen Wen, Wang Ruyi

Photography: Yin Xuefeng

Production: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

Presenter: Zhang Huiqing

Chief Supervisor: Tian Shui

Art Director: Yu Rongjun

Co-supervisor: He Nian

Producer: Huang Yiping

Special thanks to the original cast: Xie Chengying, Xu Zihao, Li Li, Bao Er, Zhou Ye, Zhao Yunlong, Liang Yiqi, Wang Jiabao

About Cao Yu

Cao Yu, Playwright

Cao Yu (1910—96) is often regarded as China's most important playwright of the 20th century, who promoted the naturalistic form of modern Chinese "spoken theatre." His best-known works are Thunderstorm (1933), Sunrise (1936), Wilderness (1937) and Peking Man (1940), all pioneering works of the fledgling Chinese modern theatre, which showed influences from Ibsen and Chekhov. They received high popularity as works that portrayed the realities of modern social ills and the decay of the feudal way if Chinese life.

After the revolution, Cao Yu helped established the Beijing People's Art Theatre in 1952, and became the Vice President of the Central Academy of Drama and the first Head of the Beijing Theatre Association. His works are often revived in new interpretations by theatre artists today.

About He Nian

He Nian is a "National First-Class" director and director of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center. He earned an MFA from the Directing Department of the Shanghai Theatre Academy. He has directed and produced several famous stage plays and television movies. Major theatre productions have included: My Own Swordsman, The Field, The Abyss, Wave, etc.

He Nian won Outstanding Director at the Shanghai Golden Lion Drama Awards, and was among Shanghai's Top Ten Cultural Newcomers in 2010 and 2012. In 2013, he won the Annual Drama Innovative Character at the One Drama Awards. In 2014, he won Outstanding Director at the One Drama Awards. He won Director of the Year at the One Drama Awards in 2021.

About Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (SDAC) is Shanghai's one and only national theatre company. Located in China's financial capital, the company houses highly skilled and experienced theatre talent, including playwrights, directors, actors, technical designers, and more. SDAC also owns three versatile theaters of various sizes, with seating capacity totaling over 1000. In just 25 years, SDAC produced nearly 300 theatre productions, attended by more than seven million audience members. By providing a meeting point for enthusiastic exchanges between theatre artists and audiences, as well as becoming widely recognized as the ideal theatre-producing partner, SDAC has become a prominent fixture in Shanghai's cultural landscape. As audiences continue to flock to 288 Anfu Road, it is clear that SDAC has succeeded in cultivating theatre-going as an integral part of the city's cosmopolitan lifestyle and way of life.

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