Author: Zhang Yujun and Zhang Pengyu
“Ice and Snow Shadow Puppets” with the theme of the Winter Olympics.Photo courtesy of the interviewee
“Like mother, the Winter Olympics is coming soon. You are a sports expert. Tell us what sports are there?” On the shadow window, a naive penguin “dumb” milky milkyly Say. Before the words were over, the elephant mother next to him introduced: “There are so many events for the Winter Olympics, look! There are speed skating, as well as ski jumping, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing…” Along with its description, the shadow puppet character Performing a skiing action on a skateboard, holding a hockey stick to play the hockey, lifelike and vivid. Walking behind the shadow window, seven “string-taking” artists skillfully manipulated the bamboo sticks and controlled the shadow actors of different dresses and sizes to complete the performance.
This is the “Ice and Snow Games” from a shadow puppet show “Looking for a Snow Girl” recently created by Beijing Longzaitian Shadow Art Theater. Not long ago, the “Ice and Snow Games” boarded the CCTV Opera Channel, and many Winter Olympics projects were presented to the audience in the form of shadow puppets, which was refreshing. The director of the theater Wang Xi said: “In the past, shadow puppets had fighting movements and ballets, but it was the first time that shadow puppets were used to represent Winter Olympic sports. The actors gained a full sense of accomplishment.”
With the approach of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, people’s attention to ice and snow sports is gradually increasing. Beijing Longzaitian Shadow Art Theater explores how to combine the ancient intangible art of shadow puppets with the theme of the Winter Olympics in the form of fairy tales Introduce the Winter Olympics so that more people can learn about the Winter Olympics and participate in ice and snow sports. “Looking for a Snow Girl” is their first Winter Olympic theme shadow puppet show.
The main images in “Looking for the Snow Girl” include characters such as the Ice Prince and Snow Girl, and animal images such as Elephant Mother, Elephant Brother Dundun and Penguin Benben. During the migration, the elephant’s brother Dundun met the ice prince who had lost his partner; when the little penguin was running away from home, he met the snow girl who had separated from the ice prince. With the help of the little animals, the ice prince and the snow girl finally met on the ice. It turned out that they were figure skaters in the Winter Olympics. In the laughter, the ice prince and the snow girl demonstrated ice hockey and curling skills to the animals, and finally performed figure skating.
Due to the involvement of various ice and snow sports, traditional shadow puppet performances do not have corresponding action programs. In the early stage of creation, actors need to overcome the shortcomings of less understanding of Winter Olympic sports. For this reason, they watched a large number of video materials of the Winter Games, summarized the performance essentials of various actions, and filmed the effects of each performance, and constantly compared and improved them.
“When performing a shadow puppet show, every action that the shadow man completes on the screen, such as playing ice hockey, playing curling, figure skating, etc., requires the tacit cooperation of the backstage actors. When completing difficult movements such as throwing and jumping, each shadow man needs more At least two actors must be coordinated and manipulated to complete. After three months of rehearsal, the play was polished to its current appearance.” Wang Xi said.
In order to make the characters on the shadow puppet stage intimate and moving, close to the young audience, “In Search of Snow Maidens” also specially designed elephants, penguins and other animal images, incorporating fairy tale plots into the narration, and staged a frozen relationship between humans and animals. . “Ice hockey is like playing hockey on ice. Players are required to be able to skate and play hockey.” “Look, the curling they hold is like an elephant chess”… There are many lively and popular performances in the performance. His lines stimulated the enthusiasm of the audience to approach the ice and snow sports.
In addition to the lively performance, the image of the filmmaker in “Looking for the Snow Maiden” is also remarkable. The shapes of the ice prince and snow girl in the works are inspired by the “double figure” skating costumes for ice sports. The costume pattern of the ice prince is decorated with “flame”, which means the sport is energetic and passionate; the costume of Snow Maiden is decorated with “snowflakes”, which means crystal clear, dynamic and soft. “These two patterns are also commonly used in traditional shadow puppet art. Thousand-year intangible cultural heritage and ice and snow sports are ingeniously integrated and complement each other.” Figure skating, ice hockey, curling and other 15 kinds of sports action characteristics, based on the Beijing shadow puppet modeling, developed 15’ice and snow shadow puppet sculpture works’, made into a series of ice and snow theme shadow puppet wall lamp “Ice Sword Butterfly Dance”. Hope Everyone can feel the modern vitality of traditional art through shadow puppets and these derivative works of art.” (Zhang Yujun and Zhang Pengyu)