Popular Mechanics

Text/Curator: Zhuang Jiayun
Direction: Li Jianjun

Guest performance during FIND 2019

»Popular Mechanics« is the first Chinese production to be presented at FIND. In their latest work, Chinese director Li Jianjun and his New Youth Group company, one of the few independent troupes in the country to be developing documentary theatre, have gathered non-actors of different backgrounds and ages who all live in Beijing to bring legendary characters from literature and film history to life on stage. The characters include Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Olga from Chekhov’s »The Three Sisters« and Nina from »The Seagull«; the performers also appear as Jane Eyre, Medea and heroes and heroines from Hong Kong movies. The overlapping of different stories and experiences creates a striking panorama of individual longings and desires in which drama and acting gradually superimpose themselves over everyday life. The actors repeatedly break off from their own stories, managing to escape their personal lives for a moment on stage – until the alarm clock literally rings and they awake as if from a dream.

Li Jianjun (*1972, Lanzhou) is an independent theatre director. In 2011 he founded the New Youth Group in Beijing. His works, including »A Man Who Flies Up to the Sky« (2015), »One Fine Day« (2013) and »A Madman’s Diary« (2011) have been invited to several Chinese and international theatre and art festivals.

Direction: Li Jianjun
Set Design: Hu Yanjun, Yang Cheng
Lighting Design: Chen Xiaji, Liu Hengzhi
Video Design: Liu Tang
Deputy Directors: Yang Mingchen, Xiao Jing
Dramaturgy: Hong Tianyi, Huang Bing
Film: Luo Chuhui
Sound Design: Xu Bo
Stage Manager: Gao Jing
Producer: Wang Qingyang

Mit: Cui Wei, He Yanpeng, Jiang Hongna, Li Chenchuan, Li Dechi, Li Zhuo, Liu Xueli, Ma Jiandong, Meng Jin, Shan Wancheng, Sun Yuexing, Zhang Shu, Henri Li/Mia Yilin Wang

Duration: ca. 105 minutes

Production: New Youth Group
Co-production: 2018 Wuzhen Theatre Festival, Beijing Inside-Out Theatre