We interviewed the cast and crew to take you behind the scenes of theatre production Behind the Curtained Door.
Behind the Curtained Door is a play about three Chinese women whose friendships prove to be stronger than the lies and betrayals they face together. Commissioned by Manchester Confucius Institute, the play premiered in Manchester last year and is coming to Leeds on 14 June as part of its UK tour. Read more about the project in this post.
Shuwei Shi is a new addition to the team, taking on the role of Ping, Ah Luk's neighbour. She is the only one not doing a drama-related degree, studying Information Technology Management for Business the University of Manchester. In the future, Shuwei hopes to pursue a performance-related career as she is interested in everything from acting and directing to trying her hand at writing or lighting and sound design.
The characters in the play are British Chinese. How do you describe your nationality?
I am Chinese, from Henan Province (like my parents). I live in Shenzhen for the most of the time.
What is your role in the production, and what was your motivation for getting involved?
I play the role of Ping (萍). She is a Chinese woman in her early 40s, and Ah Luk and Cheung Bak’s friend & neighbour. I like this role because I can feel the different sides of Ping when I am acting. She is a very vivid character.
Please can you tell us a bit more about your character?
From my perspective, Ping is a friendly, considerate, calm, and responsible person. I'm looking forward to discovering more about Ping during rehearsals.
How did you feel when you first read the script for the play?
I was surprised by the story between Ping and Ah Luk. The story is very interesting and fast-paced.
Which aspect of the project and tour are you most excited about?
This will be my first time to act in front of an audience. I am super excited to see the ways I can engage deeply with the performance and present my character to the audience.
Can you think of a detail (e.g. part of the set, or a line in the script) that you hope the audience will notice and appreciate? Can you describe why you think this detail is interesting/important?
"You don’t know anything. I gave that little girl a life, I sent her to school, I gave her a home. I sacrificed my life for her." This is a line Ping says just after she and Ah Luk's had a very intense talk. I was moved by the way she expressed her feeling and emotion.
Behind the Curtained Door features a full cast of British Chinese characters, which many people may not have seen before. Can you recommend any other plays, films or media that feature China or Chinese people as main characters?
Films: In the Mood for Love; The Last Emperor; Farewell My Concubine.
TV dramas: Empresses in the Palace; The Dream of Red Mansions
Can you tell us a fun or unusual fact about yourself?
I love swing dancing. I wish one day I can travel around the world to learn more about swing and dance together with others.