Children’s play ends in Beijing, showcasing local life in ‘hutongs’

The children’s play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat’s Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children’s Art Theater

A children’s play depicting life in Beijing’s hutongs, the traditional alleyways formed by courtyard residences, wrapped up on Sunday after a four-day performance at Beijing’s Nationality Culture Palace Theatre.

The play, adapted from a book Sanya the Cat’s Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, is set in Dongcheng, one of Beijing’s busiest and oldest neighborhoods in the eastern city proper, with rich stories to tell. A happy and naive little girl nicknamed Yaya the mouse spent a carefree childhood with her friends and her cat Sanya in a hutong. The children liked to catch the “bat fairy” and built their secret garden on the roof of their house. Later, they escaped outside the city to seek the “Rainbow Feet” in the adventure.

The children's play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat's Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children's Art Theater

The children’s play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat’s Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children’s Art Theater

“We hoped to warm the hearts of our audience with this work. We achieved this by constantly changing the order and changing the details of the play,” said the play’s director, Wang Ze.

Set in 1950s Beijing, the play captures and maintains the essence of the original novel, presenting a contrasting world of everyday hutong life and the unique atmosphere of the Chinese capital.

The children's play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat's Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children's Art Theater

The children’s play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat’s Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children’s Art Theater

“The book and the play are about the city itself and what happened there. We included the history of the hutongs in the play so that the audience can have fun while watching the show” , added Wang Dong, general manager of Beijing Children’s Art Theater.

In addition to being faithful to the original work, the children’s play values ​​design elements such as scenic beauty, lighting, costumes and puppets; and while trying to be realistic, he strives to mix dream and reality in the play.

The children's play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat's Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing National Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children's Art Theater

The children’s play, adapted from the book Sanya the Cat’s Rooftop Adventure by Beijing-born author Ye Guangling, comes to an end on August 7, 2022, after a four-day performance at the Beijing Nationality Culture Palace Theater. Beijing.Photo: Courtesy of Beijing Children’s Art Theater

As a realistic play, the production focuses on the process of exploration during a child’s development. The play delves into current issues of concern such as friendship, second child policy and family relationships, but tackles them in a light and fun way.

Based on the author’s own childhood experience, Ye wrote a trilogy, including Uncle Mouse Wake Up Late, Sanya the Cat’s Rooftop Adventure, and The Old Black Dog’s Trouble. The trilogy depicts the innocent but colorful childhood of the protagonist Yaya and shows her vitality and her friends as well as the profound influence of traditional Chinese culture on children.

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