TRA­DI­TION

China Daily European Weekly - - LIFE - 2047 Apo­logue, khoomei 2047 Apo­logue, Poya Song­book Apo­logue. Poya Song­book 2047 Apo­logue 2.” 2047 Apo­logue. 2047 Apo­logue 2047 Tu­ran­dot,

sea­son” of at the NCPA on June 12.

Like the first pro­duc­tion, the show con­tin­ues the di­rec­tor’s re­flec­tion on the re­la­tion­ship between peo­ple and tech­nol­ogy. In­stead of telling sto­ries through the show, Zhang cre­ates seven pieces, which are per­formed by artists from seven coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States, Ger­many, the United King­dom and China.

In one piece, award-win­ning con­tem­po­rary dancer Li Yu per­forms to the drum beats cre­ated by per­cus­sion­ists from U-The­ater in Tai­wan, along­side the sounds of (a tra­di­tional throat-singing tech­nique of Mon­go­lia), while ro­botic arms mimic his move­ments. The shad­ows of the ro­botic arms are pro­jected on a big screen on the back of the stage, and they change from fol­low­ing Li’s moves to re­sist­ing, even threat­en­ing him.

“Tech­nol­ogy changes our lives. But when I think of the re­la­tion­ship between tech­nol­ogy and hu­mans, I don’t just see the pos­i­tive side,” Zhang laments. “I have three chil­dren and, like many young peo­ple, they are al­ways looking at their phones. It made me think about the in­flu­ence that tech­nol­ogy has over us. It’s a dou­bleedged sword.” and it will de­but

Re­fer­ring to the pro­duc­tion, he adds, “I don’t sim­ply show­case the lat­est tech­nol­ogy and an­cient Chi­nese art forms. I am try­ing to find a point to merge them to­gether in a beau­ti­ful and in­spir­ing way.”

Ac­cord­ing to He Lulu, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor of both the first and sec­ond sea­sons of

the team has trav­eled the world to find the right artists for sea­son two.

In the orig­i­nal show, they in­vited 78-year-old Wu Shux­i­ang from An­hua, in South­west China’s Guizhou prov­ince, to dis­play her weav­ing skills with her 200-year-old loom. Wu from the Miao eth­nic group, learned the skill from her mother, and she had never per­formed on­stage be­fore.

In the new pro­duc­tion, the team will bring three re­tired log­gers from Fu­jian prov­ince — Lin Longyou, Lin Beix­i­ang and Lin Yongzhao — all of whom are older than 75, to per­form an­cient songs from their home­town, some of which date back nearly 300 years.

More than 20 singers, between the ages of 5 and 69, who form the Poya Song­book Cho­rus, from Poya vil­lage in Yun­nan prov­ince, South­west China, will also per­form. is an an­cient col­lec­tion of folk songs writ­ten on a piece of hand-woven cloth in hi­ero­glyphic sym­bols. It orig­i­nated from Poya vil­lage in Yun­nan prov­ince. It is the only dis­cov­ered record in the world that doc­u­ments songs with hi­ero­glyph­ics. In 2011, was added to the list of Na­tional In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage.

In­ter­na­tional per­form­ers will in­clude a Hun­gar­ian shadow the­ater group, At­trac­tion Per­for­mance; Turk­ish de­sign duo Ezratuba and Tetro; and LED in­stal­la­tion artists from France.

Last year, Andy Flessas (aka Andy Robot), a Las Ve­gas-based roboti­cist and com­puter an­i­ma­tor who worked with NASA’s Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­tory and also with Lady Gaga, per­formed in the first sea­son of Now, Flessas will bring more of his mech­a­nized per­form­ers to the stage for sea­son two of

“Ro­bots are like wild an­i­mals,” says Flessas. “I train ro­bots like train­ing tigers. The first time we had four ro­bots, and this time we have nine.

“In the first sea­son, my job was to train the ro­bots to un­der­stand danc­ing,” he says. “In this sea­son, I teach them how to work with mu­si­cal beats.

“Zhang gives me gift to find my great­est po­ten­tial,” he con­tin­ues. “I am do­ing some­thing that I never thought I could do un­til I came to China.”

Be­sides films, Zhang has been push­ing bound­aries dur­ing the past 30 years. In 1998, he di­rected a ver­sion of Puc­cini’s opera

and he was also the di­rec­tor of the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies of the 2008 Bei­jing Sum­mer Olympic Games.

“We want to show the au­di­ence some­thing they have never seen,” he says. “It takes lots of sleep­less nights to cre­ate these orig­i­nal pieces, and is a nerve-wrack­ing process.

“It’s much more com­pli­cated to make this show, com­pared with di­rect­ing movies,” he says, ” but what at­tracts me to it is that I can learn lots of new things by work­ing with these artists.”

He hopes to ex­pand be­yond the first two sea­sons, and he is keen to sur­prise au­di­ences as well as hear their feed­back.

“There have been many dif­fer­ent views from the au­di­ence and crit­ics about my movies,” he says. “I am looking for­ward to their views about

PHOTOS BY ZOU HONG / FOR CHINA DAILY

Chi­nese film di­rec­tor Zhang Yi­mou will pre­miere the sec­ond sea­son of the stage pro­duc­tion 2047 Apo­logue, which com­bines tech­nol­ogy and tra­di­tional Chi­nese folk art, at the NCPA this June.

Chi­nese award-win­ning con­tem­po­rary dancer Li Yu per­forms with ro­botic arms in the show.

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