Li Zongsheng’s songs are probably one of the most penetrating in the pop music world. Whenever you hear them, you will be filled with emotions. Recently, Li Zongsheng’s musical “When Love Is a Thing” was staged at the Poly Theater. This was the 100th performance since its premiere. In the nearly three-hour play, nearly 30 Li Zongsheng’s songs were sung one after another, which delighted the audience.
Li Zongsheng’s songs are “easy to cry”. In the musical “When Love Is a Thing”, his songs undoubtedly become emotional amplifiers. The struggle, perseverance and affection of “I’m a Little Bird”, “Enlightenment” and “I Really Love You” resonated with the audience; the playfulness and helplessness of “I’ve Been Annoyed Lately” made people smile; when “For You and Me” When “Blowed by the Cold Wind” and “When Love Is a Past” appeared, the experiences of the people in the play even metaphorized Li Zongsheng’s own emotional story; while “The Hills” elevated small love to a higher level of life. There may not be another person in the music world who can write such rich songs.
“When Love Is a Past” tells the story of a girl who loves music who pursues her dream, but is killed by a disease. She developed an ignorant relationship with a music producer, and also fell into the emotional entanglement between the music producer and his ex-girlfriend. The plot is similar to the Korean dramas of the early years, relatively simple. But this is also to fulfill the music. When the songs in the play already have extremely high emotional concentration, if the plot is more complicated and brain-burning, the audience will be too tired.
In fact, in addition to showing the protagonist’s experience, “When Love Is a Past” also contains many different love stories. But in the play, these stories are only presented in cross-section – after all, the nearly 30 songs in the play account for 70% to 80% of the total content of the play, and the other parts must be left blank.
The actors’ performances are dramatic and sometimes deliberately exaggerated, because this musical does not want the audience to believe that this is a true story, but to make the audience clearly aware that it is “acting” on the stage. This sense of alienation is like an actor in a movie suddenly looking towards the camera and looking at the audience, and the audience can no longer safely immerse themselves in the film’s narrative. In this drama, every affectionate and sad song must be followed by a performative punchline. This seems to be the tail end of the drama, allowing the audience to escape from the situation in the song and ease their emotions.
Many of the jokes in the play are satires of real life, such as the fast-food songs on short video platforms that can become popular, the various routines of music talent shows, and the instructors on the “swivel chair” who are eager to perform. Make the audience smile. These just-right details have become indispensable “green leaves” in presenting Li Zongsheng’s songs, making the play more full. In this sense, “When Love Is a Past” makes Li Zongsheng’s song a well-deserved protagonist, and also makes a useful attempt at the creation of Chinese jukebox musicals.