At Its Inception戏梦重生

“从既定生活中分支出去的那一部分自由的精神世界,需要用剧场这样一个空间来容纳我们的想象。”王安忆说。 “The spiritual part that branched from our fixed life, needs a space like theatre to hold our endless imagination,” said Wang Anyi.

Vantage Shanghai - - 私享家 - 作者Author/编辑Editor:叶霖耘Lerra Ye

For some old Shanghainese, the theatre is a place as familiar as old friends. Down the streets with all those London Planes, there had been good old times when the locals would slowly take a stroll after dinner, walk all the way to the nearest theatre, and settle themselves to a long expected film or drama for a lasting inspiration that would recall their memories of some wild and free fantasy from time to time. And such is the same case that once happened here,right at the venue of the previous Shanghai Cinema.

UPS AND DOWNS

On the bustling Middle Fuxing Road, near South Shanxi Road, sits one of Shanghai's oldest cinema, Shanghai Cinema.

Built as the last cinema in the city before the New China, Shanghai Cinema was initially designed to be a “theatre” rather than a cinema in the year of completion, 1942. The premiere show was put on in 1943. It was a comedy called “Women” of which the leading actress was Sun Jinglu. The poster was published on Shenbao on July 9th that year, with striking slogans like “A noble theatre of peerless gorgeousness” printed next to the “Grand Opening” . There's no doubt that the theatre, though not massive in size, did live a time when all seemed flourishing and promising. Especially after the widely-admired “Wilderness“achieved a success of all time, the theatre started to add dancing performances to the playbill. They did even invited Hawaiian dance troupes for exclusive entertainment.

But the prosperity was just a flash in the pan. Due to mismanagement and constant property disputes between successive sponsors, the theatre had no choice but to switch to movie projections since 1944, in order to sustain a subsistence level of operation. However, at the historical turning-point of liberation, the proprietor abruptly ran off to Hong Kong, regardless of the theatre's fate, taking almost all the fund along with him. So that the staff had to constitute a guild to maintain the very least of the operation. As for Shanghai Theatre, it was the finale of the old days. In 1956, the theatre was finally taken over by the government, reconstructed into the proverbial “Shanghai Cinema”. At the French concession of Xuhui district, it was regarded as “cinema at the door” by generations of residents nearby ever since.

“In the 1990s, it wßas named ‘Shanghai Cinema', a very common cinema that played second round of films and having nothing special. So were the people coming in and out. Sometimes there were parents with children, or young couples holding hands.” said Chen Danyan. “The posters outside were not as fancy as what you see at Guotai, but instead of the sophistication, they remind you of the easy local vibe.”

复兴中路1186号,对一部分老上海人来说,这是个如多年老友般熟稔的地址。吃完晚饭,闲庭信步地沿着梧桐遮道的马路走走,一路晃到剧场,看上那么一场令人期盼已久、也引人回味的戏或电影,便是上海人生活中最享受的一部分。而前身是上海电影院的这个地址,就承载了类似的岁月回忆。

大起大落,戏影前尘

在复兴中路近陕西南路的上海豪华地段,坐落着上海滩最老牌的电影院之一,上海电影院。作为建国前上海最后一座建成的电影院,这里在1942年落成时却并非是以电影院的面貌亮相,“大戏院”才是它最初的建造计划。1943年,这里上演的第一部戏是汪宗耀担纲编剧、孙景璐领衔主演的喜剧《女人》。在1943年7月9日的《申报》上登载着该话剧的海报,“隆重开幕”四个字旁还印着大大的“豪华盖代,高贵剧院”,可见当年开张时,戏院体量虽小,却也是一派碧瓦朱甍、欣欣向荣。尤其是在好评如潮的《原野》一戏首演后,大戏院一度熠熠生辉,甚至加演歌舞表演,还请过来自夏威夷的舞团。但好景不长,戏院开业后时日无几,就因经营不善,加上建造时出资方几经易帜滋生出的产权纠纷而终止了其作为剧院的命运。于是,上海大戏院从1944年起就不得不改映电影,以求在瞬息万变的世道中得以勉强生存,但大势已去,颓势难挽。解放后,经营者居然在江山更迭之初卷款潜逃去了香港,戏院不得不靠职工组成维持会继续经营。1956年后,终以年久失修的“危房”之因由国家接管,修建后易名“上海电影院”。从此,这里便成为了徐汇区旧日法租界一带市民们口中“家门口的那家电影院”。

“90年代,这家电影院名叫上海电影院,平平淡淡,播放的都是第二轮的电影,进出电影院的也都是平平常常的本地人,有时年轻的父母带着孩子,有时年轻的恋人手牵着手,有时附近的学校包场看电影。”据陈丹燕回忆,“这家电影院墙外的电影广告也不如国泰的好看,但却充满了安分而不是讲究的本土气息。”

OUT OF THE ASHES

Before the reconstruction started in 2011, Shanghai Theatre was of no significance among the Millennials. After walking through 70 years of turbulent history, Shanghai Theatre looked shabby and outdated. Buried amid a mass of supermarkets, shabby diners and budget pharmacies, the theatre remained unvisited, with her edges and fringes worn out to nothing. Eventually, threatened by potential safety hazards, the theatre closed her door, again.

One could say that Shanghai Theatre had never had her lucky days, but, she did finally welcome her renascence after all.

Neri&Hu Design and Research Office was the one who took the refurbishment project. Though at the arriving of Lyndon Neri, the founding partner of the company, who graduated from College of Architecture at UC Berkeley, the case wasn't as easy. The whole space was scattered into pieces with orders and disciplines entirely lost. As he thought, “Now and then the place have been refurbished for four or five times, yet we have no idea which part is original and which one is a latter add-on. We have to realize that many things have been irrevocably changed, and it is when a new definition must be found.”

Nevertheless, few took Neri's “redefinition” seriously enough to expect such a huge surprise on the theatre's March debut. After six years of conversion, the theatre is now equipped with a brand-new façade. The first floor adopts vertical copper stripes in shape of cameo to decorate the façade while the other parts are all covered with slates. The whole building looks like a magnificent piece of huge stone floating above a golden curtain. The theatre entrance stretches inward, forming a semi-open public square, where locates the ticket office. Meanwhile as an extension of the street, the design enables curious audience and passers-by to peep into the inside of the structure. On the other hand, the huge stone hanging above the lintel is a golden touch to the theatre. At first glance, it looks like a sheltering device, yet when you approach the entrance you'll see it's actually a terrific design of a skylight, creating a shift of light and shade effect. The majestic dignity of the cultural building is kept, so is the transparency for the light. "We hope this new theatre could become a place to slow down our life, to offer a tranquilized, still and dignified experience, and to guide us to focus on the theatre art," said Neri.

Staff working for the theatre also witnessed the difference brought by the designer's refurbishment decision. "One of the most distinguishable features of the new theatre is there are lots of skylights." During the designing process, the designer eliminated lots of traditional windows on the premise of retaining the original structure of the building. Rather, he focused on highlighting the natural light introduced by the three skylights on the rooftop. "Since the theatre is located at the downtown, it is surrounded by residential houses. If the windows open against housing estates, the effect would be barely satisfactory," the staff explained. While the three skylights exactly add to the last and the most poetic touch to the perfection of the theatre. "On a snowy night, I saw the full moon shining brightly through the skylight. And I began to realize there would be utterly different experience in different seasons and weather. I was amazed," said Tong Xin with emotion, the founder of Mouse Strap Theatre Studio, as well as the current Director of Operations of the theatre.

破旧立新,绝地重生

在2011年改建之前,上海电影院在千禧一代的眼里其实是不值得留意的:日渐破旧的上海电影院经过了七十多年的风雨消磨变得不再起眼。超市、小吃店、平价药房云集的路口埋没了电影院的轮廓,这里无人问津。最终,因安全隐患,电影院又停业整顿了。

可以说,上海大戏院的运气向来不怎么好,但它到底也迎来了自己的春天。

接到这次改建任务的是如恩设计研究所。但当毕业于加州大学伯克莱建筑学院的如恩设计创始合伙人郭锡恩第一次来到这座老建筑面前时,空间的破旧与风格的杂乱无章还是令他不禁犯难。“我想,前前后后,人们可能有四五次进来这里重修。我们很难知道哪里是原始的,哪里是后加的。我们必须认识到,已经有很多事情改变了, 需要寻找一个合适的新定义。”

即使如此,还是很少有人会预料到郭锡恩这个寻找“新定义”的决定,会在今年的3月揭幕式上带来这么大的惊喜。经过六年重建,戏院的外立面焕然一新,一楼采用了浮雕式凹凸的垂直铜条饰墙,其余楼层的表面皆被石材包裹,建筑就形似一块漂浮在金色幕布之上的厚重巨石。向建筑内部推进的剧院入口自成一个半开放式的公共广场,这里是戏院的售票区,同时作为街道的延伸,这里也允许好奇的观众和路人窥视建筑内部。而架空于门头之上的巨石更是点睛之笔,乍看之下似是雨棚之用,但当你走近入口时才会在光影转换之间发现:这实为一个透光天井的巧妙设计,在保持着文化建筑庄严感的同时也不失通透。

而在剧场中的工作人员也切身体会到了设计师修旧如新的决定所带来的变化,“天窗多,是重建后大戏院的特点之一,”他们说。设计师在保留内里老结构的基础上,放弃了室内窗户的采光,转而在屋顶上开出三口形状各异的天井,凸显出了由外向内的自然光。工作人员解释“:因为大戏院地处上海市中心,被居民楼包围,如果侧面开窗,就会和民宅‘脸贴脸’。”虽然初看不合常理,但这三扇天窗恰恰成为了剧场重生后最富诗情画意的一笔。“有一天下雪,我在这里看过半夜十五的月亮,才发现不同天气的参观感受都不一样,会觉得很舒服。”童歆,捕鼠器戏剧工作室的创始人,同时也是如今戏院的运营总监曾如此感慨。

“我们希望这里能成为一个让人慢下来的空间,带给人们一种平静、庄严的体验,去专注于戏剧。”郭锡恩说

FROM本页起顺时针CLOCKWISETHIS PAGE

一楼的室内中庭The first floor atrium;室内顶部的采光天井Skylight of the Interior;《原野》1943年刊登于《申报》的广告Wilderness ad on Shun-pao, 1943;夜间的室内照明增添了更多戏剧色彩

Night illumination adds extra drama

本页起顺时针CLOCKWISE FROM THIS PAGE一如石雕般的室外天井The vertically carved aperture;有如旧剧场幕布般的铜条饰墙Fluted bronze walls resembling theater curtains

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