Immersive performance allows audiences to get stress off their chests
At the circular-screen theater of a cemetery in Qingpu District, a unique performance was staged recently. Unlike traditional performances, the leading characters were audience members who shared their stories.
The stories, no matter happy, angry or sad, were played by all who were present – audience and performers who were immersed in the emotions and atmosphere of the real stories.
The improvisational theater, known as "one person, one story," was presented at Fushouyuan Cemetery by Zhenghao Troupe, which created this unique theatrical form several years ago.
"It is our tradition to pick a public venue for story-sharing and rethink life through our own and others' stories," said Luo Rong, one of the organizers of the event.
"We decided to host the performance at a cemetery for the first time because we believe it is exactly the appropriate and ultimate place to explore the meaning of life and get to know our lives," Luo said.
"Some shared their difficulties in family relationships and their careers, while some others tell the pain in their love lives. People are surrounded by various kinds of pressure in life, and they need an exit for such pressure," said Luo.
"Here, they tell troubles and struggles that they may never tell others. They see their values during the sharing of their experience, which is the original target of the event."
Participants also read the epitaphs on gravestones at the cemetery and laid flowers, showing respect to life.
"At the special venue, we dropped our troubles and pressures in life at least for a moment," said a participant surnamed Shen. "It is a healing trip, and I put alongside many confusions and get relief."
"Every story is worth hearing, and every one is worth respect," said Xu Min, deputy general manager of the cemetery.
"The decision to stage the performance at the cemetery showed that the public is now more open and tolerant toward the funeral and interment industry and culture," said Xu.
More such performances will be staged at the cemetery this year to open a window for relief.