'China Remixed' festival features U.S. premiere of acclaimed play 'Thunderstorm 2.0'

  • Feb. 15, 2017

WHAT: "Thunderstorm 2.0"
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. April 18 and 19
WHERE: IU Auditorium
TICKETS: Tickets will be available March 6 through the IU Auditorium box office. Program suitable for mature audiences only.


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An acclaimed update of a classic Chinese play, "Thunderstorm 2.0," will have its U.S. debut at IU Auditorium as part of Indiana University Bloomington's inaugural Global Arts and Humanities Festival, "China Remixed."

Created by avant-garde director Wang Chong and the Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental, the play has appeared in cities around the world and has been named by Beijing News as one of the 10 best performances in China of the past 30 years.

"We are incredibly lucky to witness the U.S. premiere of this thrilling production," said Ed Comentale, associate vice provost for arts and humanities and chair of the IU Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council. "The 'China Remixed' festival is designed to build bridges between old and new cultures, Eastern and Western forms, and 'Thunderstorm 2.0' embodies this theme with its mix of traditional and innovative theater."

The original version of "Thunderstorm" was written by Cao Yu, the pioneer of modern drama in China. Cao Yu is often compared to William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov and Eugene O'Neill for his powerful explorations of human complexity. In 1934, at the age of 23, he completed his first play, the groundbreaking "Thunderstorm."

The play focuses on the tragic downfall of the wealthy Zhou family, caused by a fatal love triangle and a dark secret, and explores conflicts of traditionalism and modernity in Chinese society. "Thunderstorm" became China's most important modern play, establishing the prestige and popularity of drama in the 1930s, and has been constantly revived since it was first staged.

"Thunderstorm 2.0" is an updated version of this famous work. Wang Chong has changed the setting from 1920s China to the 1990s. In addition to its contemporary focus, it features real-time camera and live video mixing to transform the traditional play into a multimedia theatrical experience.

Actors and a large camera crew intermingle on stage, creating a movie that is edited and screened above the stage action in real time. Audiences can watch both versions of the play at once for an experience that challenges traditional notions of theatrical perspective and performance.

"Thunderstorm 2.0" focuses on intense feelings of love and hatred, betrayal and revenge, and it presents its central love triangle from multiple female perspectives. Human emotions are explored not only through the acting on stage, but in the relations between the actors and the technology that surrounds them.

Wang Chong also uses the traditional musical storytelling form "Suzhou Pingtan," as well as selections of traditional Chinese operas such as "Jade Dragonfly," to dub the dialogue on stage, turning the screen above stage into an early-style silent movie.

In addition to two performances of "Thunderstorm 2.0," the Théâtre du Rêve Expérimental and director Wang Chong will work with students from multiple areas at Indiana University, including the Department of Theater, Drama and Contemporary Dance, the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, a theater group in the First Year Experience program and students in the course COLL-C-107 32971: Global Arts and Humanities in China.

Produced by Ping Pong Productions, "Thunderstorm 2.0" appears in Bloomington with the support of a grant from the Beijing Culture and Arts Fund and the IU Office of the Vice President for International Affairs.

The Global Arts and Humanities Festival was created to highlight the international face of IU Bloomington’s campus and the central role arts and humanities play in its international offerings and cultural exchanges. The festival will be an annual event highlighting the art and culture of a different country or region each spring semester. For more information on "Thunderstorm 2.0," visit the "China Remixed" festival website, which features the festival line-up as well as ticketing information for all events.

Performance of "Thunderstorm 2.0"

Performance of "Thunderstorm 2.0"

Print-Quality Photo

Performance of "Thunderstorm 2.0"

Performance of "Thunderstorm 2.0"

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Nicole Wilkins

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