Mandarin-speaking drama group stages Van Gogh-inspired play

Mandarin-speaking drama group stages Van Gogh-inspired play

‘When in costume, we are actors, out of costume, we are all part of the crew’: Theatrical art director

A drama group with roots in Richmond is staging a comedy in Mandarin this October at the Vancouver Playhouse.

The Late Christopher Bean uses Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh as an inspiration to explore conflicts involving humanity, money, relationships and art, with a comedic and satirical style.

“We are using Van Gogh as a starting point, inviting everyone to draw paintings, and combining these artworks with the theme of the show to improve the audience’s experience,” said Aitong Han, art director of the show and founder of the Vancouver Mandarin Drama Society.

This drawing session will take place before the performance, and the finished drawings will be displayed later.

There are currently two scheduled performances of the Late Christopher Bean.

“We are planning to add two more shows if there is high demand,” Han told the Richmond News.

The Vancouver Mandarin Drama Society is located at the Pacific Plaza, and it is the first BC drama club to serve a Mandarin-speaking audience.

Each theater show takes at least a year to polish.

Many Richmond residents of various ages who love drama are involved in the production including the writer, director and lead actor.

“I’m so happy after each show ends, because theater is different from other forms of performance – it is one take, with no chance for retakes,” Yuhan Yang, a Richmond resident, lead actor and the on-site assistant director of this show, said. “This really tests everyone’s performance ability on the spot.”

Yang said, before acting, she was quite introverted but being on stage has “liberated” her, which has in turn reduced her stress levels.

With as many as 10 actors per scene, there have been some challenges during rehearsals, Yang explained.

“Each person needs to remember the lines and positions of the other nine. This requires a high level of coordination.”

“Although it needs more effort, everyone is happy and united,” she said, “Regardless of the importance of the role, each actor gives a unique soul to their own character.”

Han is impressed by the commitment of the drama group, with rehearsals at times going until dawn, and some members are helping financially to put on the show.

“When in costume, we are actors, out of costume, we are all part of the crew,” Han said, adding “We spent almost a year polishing this script, from casting and script reading to acting on stage.”

Han’s team of actors spans three generations, from 18 to 60 years old, ensuring each role has an appropriately aged actor.

The Late Christopher Bean will run on Oct. 13 at 3 pm and 7 pm

The performance is in Mandarin, but there will be screens with subtitles in English.

Han’s team will also offer some merchandise on the first floor, with the profits donated to BC Children’s Hospital.

There will also be an art exhibition area on the second floor.

More details are available on showpass.