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Nobel laureate Mo Yan and famous actor Yu Hewei discuss drama and literature at ECNU


On November 20th, the 22nd Xingtan Gaoyi Lecture Series with the theme “Drama of our time: Mo Yan talks with Yu Hewei” was held at the Grand Neobay Culture Arts Center at Minhang Campus of ECNU. More than one thousand people including guests from all societies, staff and students of ECNU and media reporters attended the lecture.

Qian Xuhong, President of ECNU expressed a warm welcome to Mo Yan and Yu Hewei, and spoke highly of their artistic achievements. President Qian pointed out that living in a time of great change, our gathering with Mo Yan and Yu Hewei at ECNU can be defined as a “humanistic drama” of our time. In this “drama of care and enlightenment”, ECNU youth is sure to summon the courage to endure hardships and explore the unknown.

At the event, the appointment letter awarding ceremony of the Distant Reading Criticism Center of ECNU was held, during which Mo Yan and Yu Hewei were appointed the Honorary Writer and Honorary Artist respectively by the center.

On the question of whether actors should be separate from the characters in performance, Yu Hewei maintained that actors should be able to empathize with and be separate from the characters. According to his experience, he had different responses to different characters, but after all, it is highly recommended to separate from the characters. Mo Yan held that writers were also required to be able to both walk into and separate themselves from the characters, since both of them had their pros and cons.

On the question for his turn to create drama, Mo Yan pointed out that, “Successful novelists may not be able to produce excellent drama, but good dramatists can create fantastic novels, because dramas satisfy writers’ desire for expressing.”

Yu Hewei also felt strongly about the creative power of folktales. When he was young, he had heard the stories told by Mo Yan from his mother. Now, when reading the script, he tries to “understand” rather than “read”, attempting to discover the connection between scripts and lives.

Guan Moye, better known by the pen name Mo Yan, is a Chinese novelist and short story writer. Donald Morrison of U.S. news magazine TIME referred to him as "one of the most famous, oft-banned and widely pirated of all Chinese writers". In 2012, Mo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work as a writer "who with hallucinatory realism merges folk tales, history and the contemporary".

Yu Hewei was born on 4 May 1971 in Fushun, Liaoning Province, China. He graduated from the Shanghai Theater Academy. He is a famous Chinese actor and producer.

Author: Wicky Xu

Editor: Philip Nash