ZHOUZHUANG, China – The ancient water town Zhouzhuang opened a new season of the live action performance “Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons” on April 1, which was set on a classic stage featuring small bridges, running rivers and riverside households every evening through November.
The first large-scale water performance and an acclaimed world class theater production, “Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons” unveils the folk customs and traditions of the authentic and original Zhouzhuang lifestyle through the love story of Shen Wansan, the richest businessman in the region back in Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Lu Liniang.
The new show is incorporating with more folk performances and scenes rooted in the Zhouzhuang residents’ daily life, demonstrating customs such as greeting the God of Wealth, drinking granny tea and hosting a traditional wedding ceremony along with the town’s culture heritages.
The show also projects Zhouzhuang through settings of the changing seasons, from the rainy spring to festive winter celebrating the Chinese New Year.
“Since the first edition of ‘Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons’ premiered in 2007, it has become a cultural signature of Zhouzhuang that expresses the beauty and love of Zhouzhuang lifestyle through aesthetic setting, realistic staging, iridescent lighting and harmonious music combined with romantic dancing and scene reconstructions,” said Wu Wenjie, author of the play script.
Visitors to Zhouzhuang not only can purchase the tickets to watch the 60-minute performances, but also have the opportunity to play a role in “Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons.”
“We think it’s a great way to engage visitors as an opportunity to experience the heritage and legacies of Zhouzhuang,” Wu said.
The cultural spectacle featuring dances, acrobatics and scene presentation begins with the fishermen’s tunes. The classic folk music raises from the water surrounded by mist in the morning and fishing boats gradually appear in front of the audience, and the fishermen cast out fishing nets and greet each other. The chapter is followed by a dance about weaving fishing nets.
A highlight of “Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons” is Shen and Lu’s wedding scene in the last chapter of the performance where an audience member isselected to join the cast on stage. This chapter recreates the folk customs of water town wedding ceremonies in Zhouzhuang, the acrobatic performances of tossing wine jars, silk rope hanging and lion dancing will bring a grand finale to the show.
The live performance not only stars trained dancers and singers, locals are invited to take part in “Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons” and portray the roles of farmers, fishermen and town residents to make the show more interactive and realistic.
“We are rehearsing every day to perfect the details, it is an honor to be part of ‘Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons’ and show the unique life in Zhouzhuang from our traditions, farming culture to folk wedding customs,” said Jin Yang, a local resident and member of the cast since 2009.
“Zhouzhuang in Four Seasons” is staged daily from 7-8 pm until November at the water stage.