DUN­HUANG COMES ALIVE

A show which de­buted at the first Silk Road Dun­huang In­ter­na­tional Cul­tural Expo gives visi­tors a real-life ex­pe­ri­ence of the re­gion’s his­tory. Deng Zhangyu re­ports from Dun­huang, in Gansu prov­ince.

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - Con­tact the writer at dengzhangyu@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

daily lives of peo­ple liv­ing in the Tang Dy­nasty — from dancers to schol­ars writ­ing cal­lig­ra­phy.

Speak­ing about the chal­lenges of do­ing such a show, the di­rec­tor Wang Chaoge says: “It’s easy to tell a touch­ing love story, or a story about a his­tor­i­cal fig­ure. But it’s very dif­fi­cult to put on stage the whole his­tory of a well-known city, cov­er­ing 2,000 years.”

Re­veal­inghow­she pre­pared for her cur­rent as­sign­ment, which was launched on Sept 20, she says for the past two years she read many books on the his­tory of Dun­huang.

Be­fore En­core Dun­huang, Wang had pro­duced many tourist shows for many cities in China, such as Pingyao in Shanxi prov­ince, known his­tor­i­cally for its rich busi­ness­men, and Wu­tai Moun­tain, also in Shanxi prov­ince, known for its tem­ples.

Many of them were out­door per­for­mances. But, as for the Dun­huang pro­duc­tion, the per­for­mance is staged in a huge glass the­ater due to the dif­fi­cult weather con­di­tions.

The the­ater, which looks like a drop of water in a dessert, was de­signed by ar­chi­tect Zhu Xiaodi.

For Wang, the cur­rent col­lab­o­ra­tion with Zhu is her sec­ond ven­ture with him.

He had also de­signed a the­ater for her play En­core Pingyao in 2014.

The Dun­huang water-like the­ater is said to have cost 600 mil­lion yuan ($90 mil­lion).

The show, for which tick­ets are priced at 298 yuan, is in Chi­nese, and the di­rec­tor says she has no in­ten­tion of pro­vid­ing an English trans­la­tion as she be­lieves peo­ple can un­der­stand it de­spite not know­ing the language.

As of now, al­most half of the tourists vis­it­ing Dun­huang are for­eign­ers, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal govern­ment.

Lothar Fick­ert, a pro­fes­sor from Ger­many, who vis­ited Dun­huang for the first time, watched the play with his wife the day he ar­rived.

He says he had no prob­lem with the play although it in­volved his­tory that he was not very fa­mil­iar with .

“It’s gor­geous! The pic­ture­like per­for­mance speaks for it­self. It’s done in a very taste­ful way. Good pic­tures, ” he says, adding he will rec­om­mend it to his friends.

The di­rec­tor is con­fi­dent about her show which al­lows peo­ple walk while watching it and stop for the last part — to sit down in a real au­di­to­rium.

“From the ‘ model’ show and caves full of Bud­dha stat­ues, to dif­fer­ent dy­nas­ties, I have to di­rect not only the per­form­ers but also the au­di­ence,” says Wang.

“I let them wit­ness his­tory in a vivid way, and feel that ev­ery­thing will be buried in the sand as time passes by,” she adds.

It’s easy to tell a touch­ing love story ... But it’s very dif­fi­cult to put on stage the whole his­tory of a well­known city, cov­er­ing 2,000 years.” show di­rec­tor

Dun­huang

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

His­tor­i­cal fig­ures au­di­ences en­counter dur­ing the per­for­mance in­clude Zhang Qian, the first diplo­mat who was sent by an em­peror of the Han Dy­nasty (206 BC-AD 220) to visit Cen­tral Asia. Wang Chaoge,

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