Yan's mom-inspired TV series making waves

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-07-02 08:32:18

Yan's mom-inspired TV series making waves

The TV series Theater, starring actress Chen Shu (left) and written by Chinese-American author Yan Geling, is about the struggles of theater performers in the 1980s.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Best-selling author Yan Geling, recently made a splash on Chinese TV with Theater, a 34-episode series written by her.

Since June 10, when it was first aired on Beijing Satellite TV, the series has become a hit among middle-aged Chinese owing to both its setting-a remote town in 1980s China-and the storyline that centers on a struggling theater star, who after being framed by a younger rival, decides to walk out of the situation and follow her dreams in Beijing.

The 57-year-old Chinese-American writer has published nearly 50 novels and novellas in English and Chinese, some of which have been translated in many other languages, such as Dutch, French, Spanish and Japanese.

Yan says the TV series was inspired from the real-life story of her mother, Jia Lin, a veteran theater actress. "It is my way of paying tribute to elderly Chinese artists," she says, adding that theater reflects the "diversity of humanity".

"During my childhood, I always lingered at the theater where my mother worked. I had witnessed the entire process of making a drama, from rehearsals to performers' wearing their makeup. It made me fascinated," Yan tells China Daily.

The Shanghai-born author, who emigrated to the United States in the late '80s, says her memories of the mainland are still vivid.

"I remember how crazy our young people loved dramas at the time. It was the golden era of theater drama but their popularity faded in the 1990s."

Describing herself as a fan of dramas, Yan says they made "pretty high-level" art, and adds that she is considering writing a drama screenplay as well.

Theater features veteran actress Chen Shu and actor Sun Chun, who are both professional artists with National Theater of China.

"It's a TV drama not pitched at the market and audience ratings. It could be a successful work beyond the mundane definition of commercial success," Chen says. "It inspires me to better understand older artists."


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