Culture\Music and Theater

Theater group uses panda tracks to find its way through Chinese history

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-03-18 07:27

Theater group uses panda tracks to find its way through Chinese history

The show Panda's Home leads audiences through a sensory journey into theatrical environments.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Interactive set

The show leads audiences through a sensory journey into theatrical environments.

With two dancers, Luca Tomao and Martina Gregori, and Massimiliano Fierli and Francesco Taddei as engineers, the children are continuously encouraged to participate and play with TPO's interactive set.

"From a panda's point of view, we interpret this story using dance and visual effects. Through the journey, they encounter how the elements of nature are related to each other according to a circular movement," says Gandi, referring to the theory of the Five Elements where each element is transformed and generates the next one: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

Like the two Italian explorers in the show, Gandi and his team also learned a lot about China through the process of producing it.

Their Chinese partner, Ren Lizhu, and Ren's company, TONG, brought TPO to China for the first time in 2015 with TPO's show, titled The Painted Garden.

According to Ren, TPO's works involve lots of interaction with children, and thus the performances are suitable for smaller venues, which have a capacity of around 80 to 150, or 30 to 50 families.

"The Painted Garden was staged for three weeks in Beijing with 28 shows. To our surprise, all the shows were sold out, which gave us confidence about doing more immersive theatrical productions," says Ren.

Ren also says that after each show of The Painted Garden, the audiences were invited to participate in a workshop, which had children paint what they saw in the show.

"The workshop mirrored the children's creativity. Some of them drew the big ocean they saw onstage, while some drew the two dancers in the show with detailed portrayals, such as their curly, long hair. One of the children even painted the spotlight over his head," says Ren.

For Panda's Home, workshops will be held after each performance.

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