I won't pay has many rewards

By Raymond Zhou ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-12-13 10:08:02

I won't pay has many rewards

Popular TV host Hua Shao plays a salary man whose penchant for non-confrontation is subverted by his wife, played by singer-turned-actress Wan Fang. Provided to China Daily

A comedy on how the economy impacts the people has particular relevance to modern China. Raymond Zhou praises the production for infusing the goofy with the insightful.

I won't pay has many rewards

A new role for Peking Opera 

I won't pay has many rewards

Eat, play, laugh 

The versatility of Performance Workshop and Magnificent Culture Co has been proven beyond any doubt with their production of Dario Fo's madcap comedy I Won't Pay! I Won't Pay! on the heels of the elegant and exalted eight-hour epic A Dream Like a Dream.

Essentially a revival with subtle connections to the present day, the Chinese-language production of I Won't Pay! I Won't Pay! (aka Can't Pay? Won't Pay! in English) was first presented in 1997 in Taiwan. The Asian financial crisis became the sparkle that brought out not just uproarious laughter, but the relevancy of the play. Adapted by director DingNai-Cheng into local situations, the farce incorporated social issues of Taiwan in away few foreign plays could match.

The new production does not move the action to the Chinese mainland, but it touches on the biggest curse of China's middle class, i.e. skyrocketing housing prices. When the main character Hua launches into a lamentation at the climax, he gives voice to a whole generation, if not a whole nation, who feels belittled by the colossal strides of the times. And that speech also gives unusual depth to an otherwise roller-coaster ride of fun and hilarity.

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