Comedian sets new stage to Peking Opera story

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Chen Peisi and Yang Lixin play the major roles in the drama The Stage, which will tour the country after its success in Beijing in the summer.

"When I started producing dramas, the market was bad," he recalls. "Few people would spend money in theater."

Chen and his troupe toured the country in search of opportunities for the first few years.

"We slept backstage and cleaned the venues every day after performing our plays," Chen says.

"I was just like Hou in The Stage, racking my brain to solve problems, from making money to negotiating with performance companies."

So far, Chen has produced five original comedy plays, including Tuo'er and Balcony, which have received both commercial success and critical acclaim.

He also started a school in Beijing to train young actors in 2012.

For Chen, The Stage pays tribute to Peking Opera. And his role in the drama is challenging because it is his first time dealing with a story that is set in earlier times.

He says he brought in traditional elements of the opera into the show by consulting Peking Opera artists and historians.

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