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'Love Letters' to Debut in Beijing in August

Pub Date:18-07-02 08:44 Source:China Daily

TV host-turned actress Zhou Tao. [Photo provided to China Daily]

She was one of the most well-known TV hosts of the country, appearing in national galas such as CCTV's annual Spring Festival gala and the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Despite racking up these achievements, Zhou Tao quit her job at CCTV in 2016 to embark on a new career as the performing director of the Beijing Performing Arts Group.

The 50-year-old will now return to the stage, albeit one of a different nature, for her debut performance in the theatrical production Love Letters.

Since its premiere in April in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, the play has toured 18 Chinese cities including Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Chongqing and Zhuhai, Guangdong province. The play will debut in Beijing on Aug 16.

Directed by Russian dramatist Yury Eremin, Love Letters revolves around the romance of two characters which spans from 1975 to 2015. After meeting one another in middle school, the couple becomes separated due to their respective career pursuits.

"This play allows me to dream," says Zhou. "I play the role of Lu Jiajia from her teenage days to when she becomes an adult. The age difference is challenging. I had to recall my youth to portray the role."

TV host-turned actress Zhou Tao (right). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Zhou's hometown, Anhui province, is known for huangmeixi, a traditional Chinese opera with a history dating back to the ancient Tang Dynasty (618-907). As such, she grew up with a passion for theater and received acting training in high school.

After graduating from China Communication University, Zhou worked for three years at Beijing Television and 23 years at CCTV.

"I always wanted to perform in theater. If I didn't quit my job at CCTV, I wouldn't have had the chance to play the role and fulfill my dream of becoming a theater actress," Zhou says.

According to Wang Keran, the producer and one of the scriptwriters of Love Letters, the play also mirrors the country's transformation since its opening-up in 1978.

The pair recorded the key moments when their lives were affected by changes in society in their love letters to one another. Some of the events mentioned include the restarting of the national college entrance exam in 1977, the coming of the Internet age in the early 2000s and the devastating Wenchuan earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008.

"We wanted to depict the relationship against the backdrop of the country's changes," says Wang. "In this way, the audience can relate to the play because they have also experienced the same events like the two leading characters."

TV host-turned actress Zhou Tao (right). [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese actor Sun Qiang plays the role of Zhang Mingliang, the other leading character. Sun has performed in various movies and TV series as well as in Taiwan director Stan Lai's eight-hour epic play A Dream Like A Dream.

"I was attracted by the story of Love Letters because it reminded me of my days in school," says Sun.

One of the most unforgettable moments from his time in school was when his house was burned down in a fire on March 31, 1983.

"I felt so terrified at that moment. When I came to school the day after the fire, many classmates came over to me and sent me lots of gifts. It was very touching," recalls Sun.

"Among the students who presented me gifts was a girl I had crush on. She gave me a pencil box and a notebook and I was so excited. All those feelings are vividly depicted when I play the role of Zhang Mingliang."

If you go

Time 7:30pm, Aug 16 to 19.

Address: Poly Theater, 14 Dongzhimennan Dajie, Dongcheng district, Beijing.

Tel: 400-600-4100


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