by Catherine Blanch.
Adelaide Festival Centre and Shandong Provincial Department Of Culture are happy to present the Australian Premiere of Dream Of The Ghost Story from the award-winning Shandong Acrobatic Troupe. Ghosts, foxes, immortals and demons come alive in this magical and ethereal production of good versus evil. With over fifty performers, audiences will be treated to a surreal and breathtaking and visually stunning experience in which the spirit world meets the living and love knows no boundaries.
The Clothesline, with the assistance of a translator, speak with Director Yao Jiangou via email and began by asking about this classic Qing Dynasty fable and the legendary love story between a human man and a Fox Spirit.
“Dream Of The Ghost Story is based on grateful love where the Scholar and the Fox Spirit come to fall in love.”
What part do the immortals and demons play in this love story?
“We have positive social and life expectations on immortals. Demons are always negative and they like interrupting beautiful things. However, they are the losers and never succeed.”
Shandong Acrobatic Troupe has been around for over 40 years and has more than 200 acrobatic performers in the company and has received many accolades in that time. How did you choose which of the 50+ performers would appear in this show?
“We selected some excellent performers; the ones that were most suited to the style of acrobatics and the characters played. They will be the main forces of the show.”
Yao Jiangou explains that this is the company’s first time to Adelaide and Australia, something which he and the cast are very excited about. He then tells us about the main performers in this show, which characters they play and their acrobatic skills.
“There are five main performers in this show. Zhang Xu is the Fox Spirit who performs the tossed rings and net hanging. The Scholar is played by Guo Qinglong on the tossed rings, rubber and some other skills. Han Mengxuan is the Snake Genie who performs aerials and on the silk. Du Xiaoru plays the first Junior Fox Spirit whose skills include balancing on a single hand, while Wang Luyuan performs the other on the tossed rings. Audiences are going to love these fabulous and impressive performances.”
Of the many fables in Chinese cultural history, what drew you to choosing this particular one?
“Dream Of The Ghost Story makes us think a lot; we come to understand how justice defeats evil. Most importantly, we would love to pass the value of love and positive energy to the society and all of these are my social responsibility and value of life.”
Does your interpretation of the story differ much from the original?
“We apply the art of acrobatics to describe the love story of the Scholar and the Fox Spirit.”
Although this production of Dream Of The Ghost Story is an Australian Premier, where else have you performed this show and what were the audience reactions?
“The Australian performances are a compact version of the original. The full version is very popular in China. Audiences really like it, as does the media. We have lots of performance invitations and will be very busy.”
With no talking in this show, how easy will it be for audiences to understand the storyline of the show?
“With the art of acrobatics, there is no boundary of language when using body language. People around the world who have seen Dream Of The Ghost Story have found it easy to understand. The art of acrobatics has no limitation between nations.”
Is there anything else that you would like to add or would like the people of Adelaide to know?
“We hope that we can get emotional resonance with local audiences. We also wish that justice will be in the world forever.”
Dream Of The Ghost Story performs at Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 7pm on Fri Sep 5 until Sat Sep 6.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and www.bass.net.au.