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Immersive show 'Spectacle' debuts in Dali

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, June 25, 2021
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"Spectacle," an immersive, futuristic and experimental theatrical drama, premiered in Dali, Yunnan province, on June 19. The show is a unique blend of drama, music, visuals, arts and games.

A picture from the pioneering art drama "Spectacle." [Photo courtesy of OCT Group]

The dazzling theatrical play, crafted over four years by its creative team, debuted at the Transformer Theatre as part of the Overseas Chinese Town (OCT) Group's 2021 Culture and Tourism Festival. More than 500 themed activities and 500 culture and tourism products are being launched across China until Oct. 31, with several tourist enterprises from Yunnan joining in. 

The Transformer Theatre, once an old electricity transformer plant in Dali Old Town, aims to connect and integrate the past, present and future in its industrial space.

"Spectacle" tells the story of a mysterious scientist named Turing who holds grand parties every night to upgrade an android he has created. "The show has an awareness of the zeitgeist and reflects the contemporary scenarios in which urban people are often trapped in technologies. They are struggling and confused. The show asks questions to the audience and leads them to think about questions and truth. We want them to make a reconciliation with themselves, described Yang Le, the general director of the show.

The cast members of the pioneering art drama "Spectacle" appear on stage for a group photo in Dali, Yunnan province, June 19, 2021. [Photo courtesy of OCT Group]

He added that the show made him feel that young people are actually "taking over our world." Many of the cast members and creative team were born after the 1990s. "The show is a drama facing the future," Yang noted.

The story has not the only futuristic aspect. Artist Fei Jun, a professor of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) and the art director of the show, led ten young artists to create pioneering art installments as part of the show, demonstrating mechanical arms, artificial intelligence, data visualization scenes, R&D spaces and more. 

A picture from the pioneering art drama "Spectacle." [Photo courtesy of OCT Group]

Architect Zhang Jiyuan who worked on the show was thrilled to see the show materialize at a building which had grown out of its former ruins to become a fashionable landmark. "This was my first time trying to do a cross-industry creation connecting architecture, science and technology and drama. I hope to understand the city's imagination through this project."

Artist Qiu Yu also weighed in, "'Spectacle' is not only a drama, but also an experience of art and technology. It is a reflection on technology and life by artists."

The local government is trying to build a trendy location for young artists and the contemporary arts. They hope the place will become a new local landmark in Dali appealing to tourists from all over the world. They hope creative cultural tourism can become a new industry trend as cultural tourism recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

A poster of the pioneering art drama "Spectacle." [Photo courtesy of OCT Group]

Gao Jieyu, executive director of the show, said she was inspired by an article in a magazine discussing Dali's "new culture," and said she had found the answers about what young people are looking for. "They want a big party, and they can find it in 'Spectacle'."

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