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Stories of old Beijing win drama spotlight in Hong Kong

A CLASSIC DRAMA of old Beijing has become a hit production in Hong Kong – and introduced a trio of top mainland actors to a new audience.

On 16 May, famous Chinese actors Zhang Guoli (張國立), Wang Gang (王剛) and Zhang Tielin (張鐵林), known as the “Golden trio” of Chinese acting, performed together in the play “Sworn Brothers” (《斷金》) by Shenzhen-based Longma Entertainment (龍馬社) at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, marking the play’s Hong Kong premiere. The event was organised by the Federation of Hong Kong Beijing Organisations to promote cultural exchanges between Hong Kong and Beijing.

Poster of drama “Sworn Brothers”, from left to right are Zhang Guoli, Wang Gang and Zhang Tielin, reputed as the “Golden trio” of Chinese acting.

The play has toured the world for 100 performances. This is the first time that the updated version of the play has been performed in Hong Kong, and also the first time that the veteran cast of the “Golden trio” has come to Hong Kong to perform in the play. The Grand Theatre was packed to the rafters that night, with enthusiastic audience response and rave reviews.

The Hong Kong performance was another step for the Longma Entertainment to participate in the cultural development of the Greater Bay Area.

Group photo of all the actors in drama “Sworn Brothers”.

The drama “Sworn Brothers” is a typical story of old Beijing, best portrayed by the famous Chinese screenwriter Zou Jingzhi (鄒靜之). Set against the backdrop of Beijing’s Dong’an Market(東安市場), it depicts the social landscape from the end of the Qing Dynasty(清末), the ROC (Republic of China) era to the early years of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

A stage photo of drama “Sworn Brothers”.

Zhang Guoli, Wang Gang and Zhang Tielin play the three main characters, Fu Xiaolian (富小蓮), Wei Qingshan (魏青山) and Guibao (貴寶), who swore to be brothers when they were down and out before they worked together to eke out a living in the Dong’an Market. In the midst of turbulent times, the newly opened Dong’an Market in Wangfujing (王府井) sees the ups and downs of buying and selling, as well as the beginning and end of love affairs. With very different personalities and different ways of dealing with the world, the three brothers made different choices and pursuits that determined their different destinies.

Mr Sze Wing-wai, President of the Federation of Hong Kong Beijing Organisations, spoke at the opening ceremony of drama “Sworn Brothers”.

According to Mr Sze Wing-wai (施榮懷), President of the Federation of Hong Kong Beijing Organisations, “Sworn Brothers” is about what happened in old Beijing in the past, and it is very famous and popular in the mainland. As cultural exchanges between the Mainland and Hong Kong are becoming more frequent, the performance of “Sworn Brothers” in Hong Kong will enable Hong Kong audiences, especially the younger generation, to learn more about old Beijing and the Mainland, which is also part of patriotic education.

Yao Yi, chairwoman of Longma Entertainment, spoke at the opening ceremony of drama “Sworn Brothers”.

Yao Yi (姚怡), chairwoman of Longma Entertainment, said in an interview that “Sworn Brothers” has already toured 100 performances at home and abroad, and this performance at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre is a new and improved version. The main reason for choosing Hong Kong as the first stop is that Longma Entertainment is based in Pingshan (坪山), Shenzhen, “when we plan to participate in the cultural construction of the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong came to mind first, the actors also hope to meet Hong Kong audiences as well”.

All images are from Longma Entertainment

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