This is a story about Ruan Lingyu, the most celebrated Chinese movie actress in the 30's. We take a glimpse of the joy and success of her career, and about the pain and agony of her personal life. Her life ended suddenly as it began, in misery and tragedy, and left the world with warnings against gossips and scandals.
Focusing on the glamorous life of a movie icon of the time, the playwright highlights the changes in Ruan Lingyu's private world and her complicated love-triangles, ultimately revealing Ruan's personality and her inner being.
Her journey through her collapse is portrayed poignantly through the relationships she has with the three men who controlled her heart. The first man she fell in love with at 16 years old blossomed into what she believed a happy ending. During the years of her greatest success, she saw her puppy love devotion end in a bitter separation. As her fame grew so did the animosity and the uncertainties of her future. As the tides turn, another knight surfaces to help rescue her. She is used as a pawn and trophy in many instances where she gave her heart fully each time only to have it trampled on and thrown away. With nowhere to turn, Ruan found solace in the arms of another man whom she thought as a life partner but alas they are destined to be together but fated to be apart. Her emotional insecurity deepened; her battered spirit weakened. At the end of her life, Ruan Lingyu's exhaustion and depression overpowers her as she gently slips away, reminding us that there are many kinds of exploitation through the mind and in the heart.