Staging a ghost story
There’s a Chinese saying that goes: Grave robbers should place a candle in the tomb’s southwest corner.
If the flame flickers out, it’s because the deceased is angry about the intrusion and the thieves must return everything to where they found them.
This idea rules the narratives of the popular novel series, Gui Chui Deng ( Ghost Blows Out the Lights), by Zhang Muye, who’s better known by his pen name Tianxia Bachang.
The series has become one of the country’s best-selling online novels, winning millions of readers since the first oftheeightbookswasreleased in 2006.
The 36-year-old author has adapted the series into a theater drama to bestaged in BeijingonFridayandSaturday.
The script remains true to the novels, which revolve around a pair of grave robbers who team up with an American archaeologist to scour China for ancientmythological secrets to lift a curse.
“I didn’t intend to write the script until director Liu Tianchi handed me a script I didn’t believe would meet audience expectations,” Zhang said at a recent event heralding the drama’s national tour, that starts in early 2015. “So I decided to do itmyself.” Zhang will play a minor role that won’t be revealed until the premiere.
He’ll also join the scriptwriting team for the film version of the series slated for release in December 2015. The film will be directed by Wu’ershan, who’s celebrated for his fantasy blockbuster Painted Skin II.
After the Beijing show, the drama willheadto Shanghai for three nights fromNov 15.
X2 drama studio founder Guan Haoyuesays his Beijing-based private production company bought rights to all eight novels and will produce a drama series based on the books.
Zhang believes audiences will find the drama is more interactive than the movie.
“Everything actually happens in front of your eyes,” he says.