A workshop on Peter Pan conducted in New York last December.[Photo provided to China Daily]
Randy Weiner calls himself a "conventional kid". He graduated from Harvard University, married his high-school sweetheart and is the father of two children.
At one time he dreamed of becoming a doctor. But today he is a producer, playwright and nightclub owner - a combination that hardly makes him conventional.
On a recent chilly morning in a gritty space of about 5,000 square meters in Beijing, the New York-based playwright is seen walking, with a group of people dancing, jumping and singing near him.
Weiner's attention is focused on Peter Pan, a new production for which he is the creative director. The play promises to offer audiences a fresh experience of "immersive theater", an idea Weiner has worked on in the past two years. After its outdoor premiere on Dec 10, the play will be performed every weekend until 2018 at Beijing's Xiedao Resort.
"What interests me is the relationship between audiences and the performers," Weiner, 51, says. "Traditionally, people sit in the darkness and try to be quiet while the performers play on stage in the lights. What if the audience and the performers were both in either light or darkness? ... I am just nervous and excited about the possibilities."
This Peter Pan is a relatively new idea in terms of the relationship between an audience and a performer. A show for families, the audience is encouraged to explore the sets and go on missions with the fairies and pirates.
The creative team also includes director Allegra Libonati, award-winning designer David Gallo, aerial choreographer Paul Rubin and choreographers the Kuperman Brothers. Rubin has been involved in more than 300 productions of Peter Pan in eight countries.
Weiner began to think of using the new technique for a production of Peter Pan sometime ago. Workshops were conducted for this in New York last December and in March before they moved to Beijing in September.
"It's really a challenge because we are making it happen in this enormous space. It's also because we are making it happen in Beijing like no one has ever done it before," Weiner says of the northeastern part of the city where the play will be first performed.
Along with China Broadway Entertainment, a Beijing-based company, Weiner decided to premiere the show in Beijing because when he visited the capital in 2014, the city's energy and the willingness to try big ideas reminded him of New York.