One Minute World Arts- Book of Mountains & Seas

Book of Mountains & Seas: Chanting the Ancient Chinese Myths

Book of Mountains & Seas is a Chinese compilation of myths, which has been passed down for thousands of years. A choral theatre of the same name, written and composed by Huang Ruo, made its American premiere in March at St. Anne’s Warehouse in New York after this year’s Prototype Festival, where it was originally scheduled to appear in January, was postponed due to the COVID pandemic. Four of the myths in the Book have been selected and used in the piece, including The Birth of Pan Gu, The Spirit Bird, The Ten Suns and Kua Fu Chasing the Sun, and the libretto is sung half in Mandarin and the other half in a language invented by Huang Ruo. The choral work explores the uncertain relationship between nature and humans, while the story of Ten Suns may drive the audience to reflect upon the threats of climate change.

Book of Mountains & Seas has combined music, singing, percussion, and puppetry, so as to refresh the audience’s senses through acoustic, lighting, and visual expression. In each scene, the audience could witness the puppetry directed by director-designer Basil Twist and performed by six puppeteers, who would follow the undulating melody while handling the puppets and props such as Pan Gu, waves, suns, and Kua Fu with great skills. Their techniques make these characters or objects come alive, liberating them from the constraints of words and presenting them vividly to the audience.

《山海經》- 吟詠古老的中國神話

以收錄許多神話故事並流傳至今的《山海經》為本,由黃若(Huang Ruo)作詞作曲的同名合唱劇,原定今年1月在紐約原型藝術節(Prototype Festival)進行其美國首演,但後來因為疫情作梗,改於3月在聖安倉庫表演廳(St. Anne’s Warehouse)與觀眾見面。劇中串連四個主要神話故事:盤古誕生、精衛填海、十日並出,以及夸父追日;透過一半中文,一半由黃若自創語言組成的唱詞,此劇演繹著人類與自然的關係,反思面臨氣候變遷的現今,大自然的力量何其驚人,而人類又是何等渺小。

《山海經》結合音樂、人聲、打擊樂和偶戲,藉由聲光變化將中國神話故事送進每位觀眾的感官細胞。演出中的每個環節,都能看見導演貝索・特威斯特(Basil Twist)獨到的匠心;六位偶戲師傅隨著音樂的跌宕起伏操弄著戲偶和道具,如盤古、海浪、太陽,以及夸父等等,讓神話裡的人物及場景跳脫文字束縛,維妙維肖地呈現在觀者的眼前。



Photo Credit: Huang RuoSara Krulwich