Innovative performance showcases ancient philosophy
Fire, water, wood, metal and earth are the five fundamental elements of "Wuxing" to explain things and phenomena in the universe, according to ancient Chinese philosophy.
And today the philosophy has also inspired an innovative performance with joint efforts from both Chinese and foreign artists to newly interpret the world and the interactions of cultures.
The performance titled "Wuxing-Five Elements" made its Chinese debut on Friday evening at the Great Theater of China as an eye-catching program of an ongoing theater festival.
According to percussionist, composer and art director Wang Beibei, when she premiered this creative theater production in London during the 2023 Chinese lunar new year, audiences were appreciative.
Wang said that all the artists in the show, including He Songyuan, Chen Yuxiao, Charlie Cawood, Mike Skelton, Kate Shortt, Francesco Cucchi and Michael Ormiston have been her good friends for a long time. They usually have Chinese hot pot together at home.
When she saw her friends throwing all kinds of food into the hot pot, it occurred to Wang that why not of present a show in a fusion style.
Both Chinese and Western instruments and diverse arts of Peking Opera, rap, drama and dance are featured in the show to demonstrate the artists' own understandings of Chinese culture.
On the stage, fire, water, wood, metal, and earth are transformed into a striking sound, combining Chinese folk music and opera, Buddhist music, electronic music, Western classical music, multimedia installation art, and improvisation art.
Wuxing is known as an important concept in Chinese philosophy, and it informs knowledge of cosmology, medicine and martial arts, amongst many other cultural practices.
"The show has made me more aware of how beautiful and brilliant Chinese culture is," said Wang. "I need to learn and explore more traditional arts in the country and share them with audiences worldwide."