DATE &Time: 7:30pm Daily (Black Out on Every Thursday)
DURATION: 70 mins
VENUE: Sands Cotai Theatre (located near Yum Cha at Level 1 of Sands Cotai Central)
Monkey King - China Show is a large-scale fantasy stage play based on the Chinese legend of the famous monk – Xuan Zang from the Tang Dynasty (602 – 664) and is better known as ‘A Journey to the West’. It is arguably one of the most famous and enduring stories told in Chinese folk-lore and is one of the most dynamic characters in world literature.
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Monkey King - China Show is a large-scale fantasy stage play based on the Chinese legend of the famous monk – Xuan Zang from the Tang Dynasty (602 – 664) and is better known as ‘A Journey to the West’. It is arguably one of the most famous and enduring stories told in Chinese folk-lore and is one of the most dynamic characters in world literature. In addition the Monkey King festival is celebrated every year at the end of the Mid-Autumn festival. Throughout the years there have been many interpretations of this legend told in numerous television shows, comics, novels, video games and even motion pictures. Notable movie adaptions include the global hit The Forbidden Kingdom and the upcoming Tsui Hark/Stephen Chow film, Journey to the West 2: The Demon Strikes Back.
After eight years in the making, the Beijing Huayan Group will be launching a stage show in February 2017, based on this legend at the Sands Cotai Theatre in Macao. The state-of-the –art theatre has been purpose built by Sands China Ltd. for Hua Yan and seats 1,700.
The Monkey King stage production by Huayan breaks new ground in interpreting this classic tale to appeal to a modern audience. Audiences will be enthralled by the sheer scale of the dance, acrobatics, drama, martial arts, magic and other great Chinese elements. The show also features the most advanced 3D effects, LED screen projections, video mapping and full surround sound together with creative lighting effects, choreography, music and spectacular colourful costumes.
The Monkey King – China Show’s Macao production is based on the original version and brings all the Chinese elements of myths, fairy tales, drama, comedy, slapstick, magic and other features in one. The acting scenes encompass the Monkey King in the human world and a Devil, all set against stunning backdrops switching between the celestial, a Buddhist community and moving from heaven, the top mountain to the underwater sea. The creative team have used these elements to create a rich and multilayered narrative time and space, that presents the audiences with traditional Chinese culture and modern vitality which at the same time provides a stage performance art with infinite possibilities.
Journey to the West is one of China’s four most influential works in classical literature and is also a reflection of the spirit of traditional Chinese culture. To adapt a story like this for the modern stage is no mean feat. To do so, Huayan brought in a group of experts, scholars and artists to join the creative team. The stage adaption was written mainly by Song Qinghai (former vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Writers Association) , Cheng Weidong (former chairman of the Zhejian Provincial Writers Association), Wang Nengxian (former deputy president of China Arts Research Institute), Zhang Shengyou (former secretary of Secretariat of the Chinese Writers Association) and Huayan Group President Xu Feng. It took them two years and dozens of rewrites to complete the 10,000 words script. The original music score took over three years to create and was composed by several leading figures including Wang Liping, Xu Shuya, Qu Xiaosong and Zou Ye.
The multi-media components were accomplished by the team at Tsinghua University, led by the frontrunner of Chinese multi-media art Wang Zhigang. The imagery ranges from spectacular LED screens and 3D projections of beautiful flowers, birds and fish to the dark elements of the underwater dragon’s palace.
The hundreds of colourful costumes were designed by renowned designer Ah Kuan, who skillfully integrated cloisonné and traditional Chinese elements to bring to life the magical and sometimes dramatic costumes.
All of these elements are complemented by a team of talented artists, acrobats, ballet dancers, and martial arts masters from all around the world including stars from the National Peking Opera. The acrobats include previous cast members of the world famous Cirque du Soleil, as well as past winners of the Golden Clown Award, gold medal winners of the International Acrobatics Competition, the Circus International Competition and CCTV Dance Competitions.
The show is thus presented in the purpose built theatre created by Sands China Ltd. especially for Huayan Group’s Monkey King – China Show production. Guests can expect to be captivated by the giant 15 meter Buddha hand weighing 7 tons and two huge talons reaching out from the sides of the theatre. One of the spectacular scenes is where the Buddha hand armed with eight Talismans of Buddhism and carrying aurora and rainbow, strikes talons into the dust as a postlude to ‘Ode to Buddha’ based on the holy music at the end of the novel ‘Journey to the West’. This is the point when the Monkey King – China Show expresses its overall theme of changing evil into good and hatred into love.
The Huayan Group is a cultural company based in Beijing, China. President and Chairman of the Board, Xu Feng vision’s for the company was always to bring Chinese culture to a wider audience. Monkey King – China Show is not only the result of the development story of Huayan Group but it also realizes President Xu’s overall vision and hence the notion of a ‘China Show’ was born. The ‘China Show’ concept is brand new form of stage performance in which a Chinese story and its culture underlies the framework of the performances. After much exploration and research, President Xu in his role as Chief Producer felt that the classical Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’ was the perfect platform to do this. As a result, the show is a reflection of the spirit of originality and craftsmanship which their creative team have dedicated themselves to for the past eight years.