The Erdo Children’s Theatre, born in Shanghai, has proved it with five years – Chinese children’s musicals have opened a mode of replay by large and small audiences
Children’s musicals can only perform “High School Musical”, “The Lion King” and other “overseas”? The Erdo Children’s Theatre, which was born in Shanghai, has used “Looking for the Ear of Voice”, “Usagi Purple” and “Resurrection! Carrot” for the past five years. A series of original works with both box office and reputation answered: “Our own children’s musicals in China can also attract large and small audiences to continue to replay.”
A few days ago, “Finding the Ears of Voice” completed the eighth round of performances at the Shanghai Grand Theater. At the curtain call, more than 20 young actors from the whole play returned to the stage and sang the theme song “Do You Hear Me”: “You heard me Is it? I began to believe that failure is not terrible…” The clear and pure song and the enthusiastic dance made the audience feel the emotions and energy coming to the audience, and the audience was boiling.
The reporter learned that “Looking for the Ear of Voice” and “Usagi Sauce Purple” will usher in a new round of performances this year, and “Resurrection! Carrot” will also create a new resident version at the Shanghai Grand Theater.
No script, “play” with the children to create a story
Speaking of Erdo Children’s Theatre, the word that appears most frequently in online comments is “professional”. This is a creative troupe, and the accumulated local themed repertoires are all born in the daily interaction, games and singing and dancing training. The actors are all children and children. Letting them on the real commercial stage and creating a broader stage of life is what makes the troupe different from other art education institutions.
“Director Zhang, when can we rehearse the new play?” In the past few days, Zhang Chenting, the founder of Erdo Children’s Theatre, was being pestered by the children and asked. After graduating from the directing department of the Shanghai Theater Academy, Zhang Chenting went to the Children’s Palace to become a teacher. At that time, many people thought that she was “overkilled”. But this relatively blank field gave her a lot of room for development. She has devoted herself to children’s drama creation for more than 20 years. She has “played” with children and produced more than 30 original works, among which the musical “Ears in Search of Voice” is one of them.
In the story of the musical “Ears in Search of Sound”, the boy Xiao Dan transferred to a key elementary school with his “magic” bottle and a pair of pure vacuum ears. The contrast between competition, comparison and environment made him miss the life in the countryside. The conflict and helplessness in the real world, and the demolition of his hometown made him gradually lose his desire for sound. In the end, the bottle was “broken” and his ears “flyed”… For small audiences, this is a work that deeply empathizes with them. What is staged is the life they experience every day. The jokes in the play that are close to campus life closely follow the current hot spots. Each round is created by the collective brainstorming of the young actors, which is real, fresh and steaming.
Not only the actors, but also the children are involved in the drama creation with multiple roles
“There has never been a script in our troupe. We play the show when we play, and then summarize the script when the play is over.” Zhang Chenting said, every time everyone plays it, it’s different from the first time.
Over the years, the works of Erdo Children’s Theatre have always brought children to focus on a theme – being yourself, which is an unavoidable proposition for everyone in modern society. From “Looking for the Ears of Sound” to “Usagi Sauce Purple”, these are the growing “pains” that children are going through at this moment.
Take the family carnival type “Atu Jiang Zi” as an example, it focuses on how children and parents in the family face the changes in their lives. This is not only a “password for customs clearance” to adolescence, but also a letter of empathy to middle-aged parents. In real life, Zhang Chenting’s daily life with children is integrated into the musical, bringing a real texture to the work.
“Many young actors and audiences have a certain understanding of musicals, especially Western works, and can sing, dance and perform, but they still feel that our own works are more down-to-earth and closer to life.” Zhang Chenting revealed, wonderful The world of drama makes children very “addicted”. They often stay in the rehearsal room for a whole day, thinking about the arrival of the performance, and are willing to give up the time to play.
In Erdo Children’s Theatre, children are not only actors, but also participate in the production process. Rehearsal planning, stage supervision, and prop preparation are all done by themselves, giving them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with and examine the theatre stage from multiple perspectives. . The children turned the beautiful songs in their works into ingenious short videos, which quickly became popular on social networking sites such as Douyin and Station B.
“It is our good wish to release children’s nature through drama.” Zhang Chenting told reporters that there are still many Chinese children who have not yet entered the theater. When the children had no time, she went to the door by herself and communicated with them face-to-face. Up to now, Zhang Chenting has given nearly 40 lectures in kindergartens, primary schools and middle schools, played improvisational drama games with more than 10,000 children, and discussed how to “make drama change lives”. She hopes that more children will have their own drama time in the future. (Reporter Tong Weijing)
Source: Wen Wei Po
Article source: Wen Wei Po
Author: Tong Weijing | Editor in charge: Yu Ying