Stage play hails harmony between humans and animals
The stage play "The Last Warrior Elephant", about an orphan boy and a newborn elephant growing up together, is being performed at the National Center for the Performance Arts in Beijing from Jan. 10 to 13.
Adapted from Chinese writer Shen Shixi's popular novel with that title, the play is set during the Chinese People's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945) in Xishuangbanna, in China’s southwestern Yunnan province, where elephants have long been considered sacred.
The story tells how Bo Nong Ding, an orphan of Dai ethnic group, and Ga Suo, the baby elephant he saved, work together to combat the enemy and defend their shared homeland when the expanded Japanese invasion poses a huge threat to Da Luo village.
Director He Nian (left) and choreographer Liu Minzi pose for photos with posters of the stage play "The Last Warrior Elephant" on Jan. 10, 2019. [Photo by Zhang Liying/China.org.cn]
Director He Nian said in an interview on Thursday the story impressed him as it encourages reflection on the meaning of life and the relationship between humans and animals.
"It's a really touching scene when 26 years after the fighting end, Ga Suo walks through the tropical jungle with Bo Ning Ding, a friend and comrade-in-arms, to the elephant tomb before saying farewells," He said.
Another highlight of the play are the lifelike elephant puppets designed in actual sizes of real Asian elephants.
It takes a great deal of effort to make the model elephants deliver various movements, ranging from splashing waters with their trunks, to shrieking with their heads raised as they march forward in a hail of bullets, according to Xing Yi, a puppet operator.
Puppet operator Xing Yi speaks in an interview about the stage play "The Last Warrior Elephant" on Jan. 10, 2019. [Photo by Zhang Liying/China.org.cn]
"We received more than one month of physical training to become competent for the challenging task of operating small puppets with our two hands on the ground," Xing said.
"For each of the larger puppets, weighing about 90 kilograms, we needed the close collaboration of three people to guarantee the unified action of its head and body," she added.
The stage play, a co-production of the Shanghai Media & Entertainment Group and the Shanghai Puppet Theatre, is the important part of the repertoire the Shanghai Puppet Theatre will present at the 12th China Art Festival scheduled for May in Shanghai.
(Source_title：Stage play hails harmony between humans and animals)