Yang Liping Staged at Cultural Show of the SRIFF
Yang Liping’s Under Siege Staged at Cultural Show of the 3rd SRIFF
Besieged on all sides, Xiang Yu, Lord of Chu, heard the songs of Chu from all directions. In a different time, an endless battle unfolded.
On September 7, the dance drama Under Siege - The Full Story of Farewell My Concubine with Yang Liping as the chief director was staged at the third Cultural Show of the 3rd Silk Road International Film Festival (SRIFF) in Xi’an, setting off a new upsurge of the grand event.
The story about the War between Chu and Han has spread for thousands of years and become known to every household. The new work Under Siege - The Full Story of Farewell My Concubine tried to break the narrative mode of traditional dance dramas. Instead of focusing on the story itself, the new drama put the figures of the story dating back to about two thousand years in a broader space-time concept, and spared no effort to portray the inner conflicts and disputes of each figure in a specific time, space and circumstance by virtue of dance and comprehensive stage means.
The music of the drama was striking. The classical pipa tune Under Siege - The Full Story of Farewell My Concubine heard from behind layers upon layers of scissors created a terribly tense atmosphere in just a few minutes. The background music also integrated modern dance music and aria of Beijing opera into the traditional pipa tune, a combination having improved the expressive force of traditional music. Without a single sword or spear, the whole performance fully revealed the anxiety and fear of those suffering an ambush on all sides.
Rooted in the traditional Chinese culture, the new drama made a bold experiment. Focusing on Chinese dance, it created a “dance theatre” by combining action art, installation art, folk music and traditional drama etc. It was another new attempt made by Yang Liping in stage art, and also a courageous practice of integrating the traditional classical art into contemporary cultural context.
Performers’ makeup originated from traditional Beijing opera, and their costumes also absorbed oriental classical elements. The creative contemporary lines featured mysterious, classic and philosophical flavor of the old oriental country.
In the form of this dance theatre, Yang Liping calmly showed the desire and fear in the depth of human nature as well as the eternally immutable questions of human beings on the stage – the story of an ambush on all sides has never stopped at home and abroad since ancient times. In the games of making an ambush or being besieged, hurting others or being hurt, is desire giving rise to fear, or fear bringing about desire?
After the performance, the audience delighted in talking about two parts of the drama. The first part revealed the “dark” and “bright” sides of Han Xin, like the interwoven good and evil characters of human nature. That desire and fear split human nature and contribute to both success and destruction of an individual found full expression in this part.
The other part is that a male dancer played the role of “Concubine Yu”. Ms. Tian, claiming to be a fan of Yang Liping, commented, “This role is just like the female role in traditional Beijing opera, with strong expressive force. In the Under Siege - The Full Story of Farewell My Concubine, Concubine Yu was like little candlelight in a dark night, beautiful but easy to disappear. She, however, brought some hope and comfort to people.
In order to boost the 3rd SRIFF scheduled to open on September 19, more wonderful plays will be staged at the Cultural Show. On September 10, the dance drama Confucius will be performed at Sofitel Convention Centre & Grand Theatre. An original dance drama Silk Princess will be on show in People’s Theatre on September 20. A large modern drama of Shaanxi opera Yisushe will be staged in Yisu Grand Theatre on September 23. Moreover, the Opening Ceremony, Film Screening, Film Forum, Closing Ceremony & Award Ceremony and other activities will also bring wonderful programs to the 3rd SRIFF.