Theater, music, coffee, cosmetics, sports provide excitement in May

Li Qian
Twenty-fou theater productions with 104 showings liven up Jing'an District, along with music, coffee and cosmetics festivals, and Olympic qualifier fencing competitions.
Li Qian

Coffee, music, theater and many other events have jazzed up Jing'an this month as the district has partied.

In mid-May, the curtain descended on the 18-day Modern Drama Valley with the ceremony for the One Drama Awards, which honored theater practitioners with 14 awards.

The Play of the Year award went to the Shanghai-dialect drama "Everlasting Regret," which was adapted from Shanghai writer Wang Anyi's 1996 seminal work "The Song of Everlasting Sorrow."

Fang Xu was honored as Director of the Year for "Rickshaw Boy," an adaption of Lao She's 1937 novel of the same name which is known for its vivid portrayal of the lives of common people.

The Best Actress award was presented to Wan Qian for "The Insanity," and Best Actor to Liu Xuanrui for "The Lifespan of a Fact."

This year's theater extravaganza presented 24 productions in 104 showings – the most since 2009.

Notably, 83 percent were Shanghai debuts, such as "887," the most autobiographical work of Canadian theater master Robert Lepage; "Faust," a Chinese adaptation of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's epic directed by the late Lithuanian theater director Rimas Tuminas; and "Julius Caesar," a traditional Chinese opera adaptation of Shakespeare's namesake play by Peking Opera master Wu Guoxing and Kunqu Opera prince Zhang Jun.

In addition, more than 300 free events including clown parades, magic shows and pop-up theatrical experiences were provided on the streets, in commercial zones, and other public areas. The annual "families' drama contest" attracted more than 2,000 families across the country.

The first Jing'an Music Festival, which evolved from the district's years-long jazz festival, created a six-day music party over the May Day holiday, with most of the performances free of charge.

The festival kicked off with an opening performance by Hong Kong singer Alex To at Jing'an Park. To is known as a pioneer who introduced rhythm and blues, and hip-hop to China.

To commemorate his mother Zhang Lu – a Shanghai singer hailed as a "Chinese singing queen" in the 1940s – the 62-year-old sang his mother's magnum opus "Give Me A Kiss," which gained fame after a performance at the century-old Paramount Ballroom.

This year's festival attracted over 200 international artists, including Saunders Sermons, a two-time Grammy award-winning singer and trombonist from the United States; Belgian "Blues Legend" Boogie Boy; and French jazz singer Anne Evenou.

Another major event during the holiday was the district's annual coffee festival.

More than 50 coffee brands erected stalls outside the HKRI Taikoo Hui mall, including California-based Blue Bottle, Vietnam's Trung Nguyen Legend, Gabee from Taipei, and local brand Lion Row Land.

Two branch venues were CITIC Plaza and Daning Music Plaza.

As a highlight of an annual international cosmetic festival also being held, Jiuguang Department Store hosted a two-week cosmetic pop-up event, during which beauty influencers and livestreamers were invited to promote their latest products.

There was also an important sporting event. Considered a major preparatory event for the upcoming Paris Olympics, this year's Shanghai Foil Grand Prix attracted 354 fencers, including the top 16 male and female fencers.

In the finals, Tokyo Olympic gold medalist Cheung Ka-long of Hong Kong, China, took the gold medal after beating Gerek Meinhardt of Team USA. Japan's Kazuki Iimura and Egypt's Mohamed Hamza won bronze medals.

In the women's category, Italy's Martina Favaretto secured her first Grand Prix gold after defeating Poland's Julia Walczyk-Klimaszyk. Current women's world No. 1 Lee Kiefer of the US and Pauline Ranvier of France settled for bronze.

Two Chinese mainland fencers advanced to the final eight, with Mo Ziwei ranking 6th in the men's group and Chen Qingyuan ranking 7th in the women's group.

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