Large-scale historical drama SHANG Yang is authored by the national-class level-A playwright YAO Yuan and directed by the stage director CHEN Xinyi. This drama is adapted on the basis of historical figure SHANG Yang. It not only tells the story of an ancient struggle for reform, but also conveys the masculine courage and uprightness at the cost of life in the pursuit of grand ideal and indomitable fighting spirit of breaking through the encirclement of obsolete culture.
Director’s note: SHANG Yang grows up from a trampled slave to be a free and noble man, and even becomes a powerful minister. He has to avoid the threat of being stabbed in the back. The ambition to achieve his goal leaves him no time to hesitate. And he has to suffer - after all, this is an era of “when a horse takes the lead, other horses gallop ahead”.
Presenter: Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre
Executive Presenter: YANG Shaolin
Artistic Director: LÜ Liang
Executive Producer: TIAN Shui
Managing Producers: WANG Deshun/HUANG Yiping
Playwright: YAO Yuan
Chief Director: CHEN Xinyi
Director: ZHOU Xiaoqian
Vice Director: LÜ Rui
History Consultant: ZHU Weizheng
Set Designer: HUANG Kaifu
Composer: DONG Weijie
Lighting Designer: XIAO Lihe
Costume Designer: HU Xiaohui
Make-up Designer: DING Songshan
Tech Designer: ZHOU Chengbo
Props Production Supervisor: ZHAO Ming
Stage Manager: XUE Chen
SHANG Yang: LIU Peng
ZHU Huan: HE Ping
Jiniang: ZHOU Xiaoqian
Junior SHANG Yang: MAI Duo
JING Jian: XU Chengxian
GONGSHU Zuo: YANG Shaolin
HAN’s Daughter: WANG Yinan
GONG Zi’ang: LIU Xuanrui
KING Hui: SUN Chenxing
GAN Long: HUANG Chen
GONGSUN Jia: FU Chong
MENG Langao: GAO Zepeng
ZHAO Liang: LI Chao
GONG Ziqian: TIAN Rui
King of Qin: CAO Yi
Junior Prince Si: WEI Lai
Shijiao: WANG Haiying
Prince SI: LÜ Shifeng
Soldier/Senior Minister: LIU Chuang
Soldiers: WANG Xun, ZHOU Jimeng, ZENG Bin, LIU Xiaochen, Qingeertu, LIANG Chen, MA Jingyin
In the mid Warring States Period, a concubine of Prince of Wei State gives birth to a newborn boy (later named WEI Yang). The prince invites the sorcerer to make divination for this newborn boy. The sorcerer concludes that this newborn boy will be an evil descendant. As a result, the concubine and her newborn are abandoned to the wilderness.
Ten years later, JING Jian (courtier of the Qin State) is sent on a diplomatic mission to the Wei State. JING Jian and GONGSHU Zuo (General of the Wei State) come to the bank of Xi River and find this boy. At the first glance, JING Jian appreciates this clever boy, and he wants to take the boy to the Qin State and personally adopt him. But the general GONGSHU Zuo arbitrarily takes the boy WEI Yang away, and forces WEI Yang’s foster mother JI Niang to break with WEI Yang. In order to ensure WEI Yang’s bright future, JI Niang cuts out her eyes, and vows not to see WEI Yang again. WEI Yang is taken to Wei State. Then GONGSHU Zuo orders him to accompany the son of King of the Wei State (Prince Ang) to attend school.
However, WEI Yang makes scholastic achievement rather than Prince Ang. WEI Yang has strong interest in the doctrine of Legalism, and is increasingly dissatisfied with his current status for he wants to play a greater role. King Xiaogong of the Qin State ascends the throne, issues the edict to seek talents with eagerness, and claims that the Qin State is willing to follow the system of enfeoffment and give territory to those who make contributions to the Qin State. WEI Yang bids farewell to his lover HAN Nü to go to the Qin State.
Under JING Jian’s introduction, WEI Yang goes canvassing for doctrine of legalists to King Xiaogong. As a result, intense debate on the reform breaks out in the court. Under the support of King Xiaogong, JING Jian, Prince Qian and ZHAO Liang, WEI Yang refutes the ideas of the conservatives so that reform is launched. Unexpectedly, on the grand ceremony for announcement of the new reform and appointing Crown Prince Si, the conservatives launch an attack on the ground of Prince Si’s infantile convulsion and disobedience, and they look on how WEI Yang will deal with this problem. WEI Yang makes decisive disposal, dismisses Prime Minister GONGSUN Jia’s position, and cuts off Grand Preceptor Prince Qian’s left foot. He promptly maintains the enforcement of the new reform. Since then, WEI Yang’s legalism is greatly promoted in the Qin State, and the Qin State is also increasingly powerful.
The growth of the Qin State makes King Hui of the Wei State extremely fearful. Prince Ang conspires to present HAN Nü to King Xiaogong of the Qin State in order to apply stalling tactics and sow discord between WEI Yang and King Xiaogong. JI Niang, who hasn’t seen her son over years, also arrives in Duping alone. Looking at foster mother’s tired and haggard face, WEI Yang wishes to use his lofty title in exchange for JI Niang’s freedom. However, due to the court battle, WEI Yang falls into a dilemma, and he is unable to change this situation.
In order to recover the former territory of the Qin State, the Qin State and the Wei State are at war again. WEI Yang realizes his dream and becomes Duke Shang. His prominence adds to the hatred of the conservatives. Soon after, King Xiaogong dies, and Crown Prince Si ascends the throne. The first thing for Crown Prince Si to do after he ascends the throne is arresting SHANG Yang under accusation of plotting treason. At dead end, SHANG Yang enjoys reunion with JI Niang. Burned by raging fire and shot by countless arrows, this vigorous giant finally dies in the law originated by himself, and puts an end to his heroic but tragic life. With his dauntless innovation spirit, SHANG Yang lays a foundation for the establishment of the Chinese feudal system, and paves the way for the progress of the Chinese history.