Across water, land and air, high-tech Han show wows audiences
Updated: 2015-03-14 08:12
By Li Bo in Wuhan(China Daily USA)
Combining performance, waterworks machinery and intelligent control, the Han show in Wuhan, Hubei province, has been dubbed the most "high-tech" show in the world and wows audience as it challenges the limits of human performance.
It took five years and 3 billion yuan to develop the show that features the world's first mobile 200-ton LED screen and 2,000 movable lift chairs. The stage pool can hold four times the amount of water of the Beijing Olympic swimming pool.
The unparalleled hardware in the Red Lantern theater was created by world famous art designer Mark Fischer. International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Chairman Cesar Mario O.Mamon said, "Compared with the shows in Las Vega he Han show is the most exciting stage show I've seen, be it the stagecraft, performance level or audience experiences, Han show is on top of the world."
The Han show dazzles the audience with a fast changing plot that utilizes water, land and air. Photos Provided to China Daily
The Han show dazzles the audience with a fast changing plot that utilizes water, land and air. In order to follow the performance, the audience often has to turn 180 degrees, and the actors swoop over their heads on fly wires.
The show's costume designer is Hong Kong art director Tim Yip who won an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Yip has incorporated 12 Chinese zodiac animals into the show. They wear costumes that blend Eastern and Western styles. The Chinese aesthetics impress the audience, especially foreign visitors.
The visual impact of the show is excellent thanks to Yip's creation of a "Chinese unicorn" with wings nearly 10 meters in diameter. In addition, palace guards cloaked in red, dragons and phoenixes, and other beautiful costumes will captivate the audience.
"There will be no show in the world after the Han show," Han show general director, the world stage maestro Franco Dragone said. "My duty is to pave the way for people to see high level theater."
"Thirty years ago, during my first time doing this kind of visual theater, there were a lot of people asking. How does a show without dialogue communicate with the audience? Later, I found the answer. Some people cry at a painting, because painting can communicate with the audience. I wanted to do a show to mix together things that I dreamed about, but I will not directly tell the story, I will let the audience imagine with total freedom. I think viewers need to be moved," he said.
As for the creative process of the show, Dragone said the main difficulty is finding an appropriate way to achieve a dialogue with his friends. To do a "Chinese Show", he would like to capture the essence of Chinese culture, but that turned out to be the most difficult thing.
Two months after the premiere, the show was revised from two hours to 1.5 hours with a more compact plot. In the new version, actors dive from 27.5 meters and after some jaw-dropping moments, they suddenly emerge from the water, increasing the suspense. It is understood that the instantaneous pressure the water put on the actors is equivalent to 100 kg weight. In order to protect the actors, the show had 20 diver sunder-water, who are able to quickly check the actors physical condition and provide oxygen bottles. As China's first high-tech stage show, the Han show has excellent seats remaining for select performances.
Wang Jianlin, president of Wanda Group said its popularity is a result of the development and prosperity of the Chinese cultural industry and the market demand-led industry should be more technology and innovation centered.
With stage productions growing in popularity, more cities are developing their own stage shows. A well-developed theater culture not only brings vitality to a city, but also attracts a steady stream of tourists and money.
(China Daily USA 03/19/2015 page10)