God of Thunder set to take French audiences by storm
Updated: 2013-07-26 14:21
By Zhang Yuchen (China Daily)
Photo Provided to China Daily
Drawing on the richness of Chinese culture to create a tangible mythical universe of Nuo Opera's masks and the music of Chinese ethnic groups, Zhao's new production reflects the principles of Taoism and yin and yang.
The story tells how Tao, creator of all things, has chosen a man to become the God of Thunder to save the world from terrible demons. The story reveals that all humans can switch between being demons, men and gods.
Six talented actors play different roles ranging from humans and gods. Throughout the 65-minute performance, actors wear Nuo masks that represent different kinds of gods and demon traits. The play not only tells a fairy tale, but also tries to convey the special Chinese cultural concept of yin-yang or Taoism.
Shi Yan, who plays Thor, says the God of Thunder is the most challenging character she has ever played in her 10-year performing career.
"The psychological and emotional change of Thor is very dramatic as well as subtle, and the whole play is performed only in physical theater to show the ebbs and tides of the thunder god," she says. "It requires sophisticated design of body movement to fulfill the task."
To prepare for the role of this quirky god, Shi took inspiration from animals, using animal gestures to flesh out the character.
Last year, SanTuoQi joined Festival d' Avignon for the first time with the show Aquatic.
French newspaper La Provence gave the show four stars. This year, the same newspaper gave their new show three stars, commenting on its "intensity and lightness".
Zhao says the French audiences were wildly enthusiastic about the show. "We had to encore over and over again and after that they still rushed backstage to tell the actors how they were touched and how much the show resonated with them," Zhao says.