The Savage Land


Presented by: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

Directed by: Nian He

Date: Thursday 15th November 2018 – 18:00

Venue: SDJU Theatre

Event Type: Performance Arts


THE SAVAGE LAND was written by Yu Cao, the Chinese master of drama of all time. The story unfolds through a series of events of deep-seated hatred. This tragedy about revenge and fate demonstrates the writer’s perplexity about the dilemma of life, and his philosophical reflection on the mysterious universe.

On the land, Chouhu jumps out of his prison cart. He breaks the shackles up, ready to avenge his father’s death, only to find that the murderer Jiao Yanwang has died, and that his former lover Jinzi has married Jiao’s son Daxing, who is too a friend of Chouhu’s. Daxing loves Jinzi, and fears his own mother as well, who has a crude heart and malicious means especially against Jinzi. The sudden appearance of Chouhu annoys Daxing’s mother very much.

Late at night, Chouhu sneaks in Jinzi’s room, and expresses to take her away after justice is done. Just then Daxing returns home, and his mother orders him to use domestic disciplines to torture Jinzi. While Daxing is in a dilemma about what to do, Chouhu breaks in. The two then starts to drink to each other, soon blind drunk.

Chouhu thought Daxing and his mother intended to inflict harm on him, so he kills fragile Daxing in advance. Meanwhile Daxing’s mother comes to Chouhu’s bed, hoists her iron crutch and hits down, only to find that her own grandson is lying there.

Chouhu runs away with Jinzi, leaving Daxing’s mother screaming with her deceased grandson in her arms in the dark. Chouhu feels guilty and conscience-stricken, prone to illusions. During the dark night, Chouhu and Jinzi keeps running on the savage land. In the end, to ward off evil spirits, Chouhu commits suicide by lying on the rail.

Our production is created by both bold subversion of and loyalty to the original. It is a dramatic dialogue that flows in the river of time. This contemporary version of the play with brand-new conceptions and forms, as directed by Nian He, brings real glamour to the classic.