Tech, tradition entertain Beijing theater patrons

Chinese folk art combined with high technology to produce an unusual treat for theater goers last month in Beijing.
Zhang Yimou’s stage production of “2047 Apologue” showcased traditional art forms including Shaanxi tunes of small copper bowls, Quanzhou puppet show and Fuzhou drum music, combined with laser displays and other elements of modern technology.
“The modern dance was completely choreographed by dancer Qiu Jirong,” said director Zhang Yimou. “All I did was to introduce the laser system to him and let him work with the laser engineers alone. The speed of light is fast, and Qiu has to make every step go with the laser accurately.”
Qiu Jirong is a famous Peking Opera actor whose style incorporates traditional patterns with modern dance.
As well, performers held Apple iPad tablets in front of their heads, displaying indifferent faces.
This reflects how people walk around without communication, Zhang said.
“We spend most of our time on smart phones rather than communicating in person,” he said.
Some 20 teams and individuals – including dancers, musicians, weavers, technical experts – from seven countries joined hands to work on “2047 Apologue,” according to government website eBeijing.
The show, based on the Peking Opera “San cha kou
(三岔口 or At the Crossroads),” is a well-known opera based on a story from “Water Margin (水滸傳),” considered one of the four great classics of Chinese literature.
“San cha kou” is about a banished Song Dynasty (960-1279) general who spends the night at an inn.
A misunderstanding leads to a fight – involving sword play and martial arts – with a fighter who was secretly protecting him.