The Wilderness (play)

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The Wilderness or The Savage Land (原野 Yuanye) is a 1936 play by Cao Yu.[1] The play was influenced by Eugene O'Neill's expressionist theatre and relates a succession of murders and stories of revenge set in a forest. At the time the play was published, social realism was the rage in China, and critics were not pleased with the work's supernatural and fantastical elements. There was a resurgence of interest in The Wilderness in 1980, however, and Cao Yu, then 70 years old, collaborated in staging a production of his play. Other notable modern stagings include that of Wang Yansong in 2006.[2]


The play was made into a 1981 film The Savage Land, and an opera, of the same name by composer Jin Xiang, in 1987.


  1. ^ Bonnie S. McDougall, Kam Louie The Literature of China in the Twentieth Century 1850652856 1997 - p180 "Cao Yu's third play, The Wilderness, has only recently attracted the same level of attention as its predecessors. Written in 1936 and performed in Shanghai in 1937, its expressionist techniques look back to Hong Shen's reworking of O'Neill's ..."
  2. ^ Li Ruru Staging China: New Theatres in the Twenty-First Century 113752944X 2016 "There is no doubt that Wang Yansong's 2006 production of The Savage Land is a definitive reinterpretation that finally excavated the symbolic and tragic essence of Cao Yu's dramaturgy. The fact that this production took place almost 70 years..