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Touched by an Expo angel

NATIONS holding World Expos traditionally feature memorable performances to highlight their themes.

In 2000 at the Hanover World Expo in Germany, a multimedia theme show with "floating water" was held nightly at the lakeside site. It illustrated the theme "Humankind, Nature and Technology."

In 2005 at the Aichi World Expo in Japan, a theme party was held nightly on a plaza with a pond. The theme was "Nature's Wisdom," or in Japanese, "Love the Earth."

In 2008 at the special Expo in Zaragoza, Spain, the performance "Iceberg" illustrated the theme "Water and Sustainable Development."

Shanghai, host of the World Expo 2010, aims to outdo all previous World Expos with a daily spectacle involving around 20,000 performers - just as the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing exceeded all others in extravagance, scale and spectacle.

The 40-minute multimedia spectacular for this Expo will be on a grand scale to illustrate the general theme, "Better City, Better Life."

Multimedia show

Titled "Windows of City," the multimedia show will celebrate the city of Shanghai, its spectacular modern achievements and its dynamic and kindhearted people.

The show tells the story of an out-of-town girl who arrives in the dazzling modern metropolis. Like many others, she hopes to realize her dreams in the big city, but of course encounters daunting obstacles.

With the help of warmhearted people - and an angel - she finds love and a harmonious life. It illustrates the many facets of the colorful urban tapestry.

The show is a collaboration between Shanghai Media Group and the Taipei Arts International Association.

Three or four performances will be staged a day in Zone C of Houtan Square in the Expo Pudong site.

The World Expo Shanghai is expected to attract 70 million visitors over its six-month duration. With more than 650 performances, "Windows of City" is expected to be seen by more than 2 million visitors, the biggest show at the Expo.

"The theme 'Better City, Better Life' has been incorporated throughout the show," says Serina Chen, director of the Taipei Arts Association. "It is the soul of the performance."

People are the heart of a city, says Chen, and the show conveys the message that human beings are basically good and the city is not cold or heartless, as it seems at first to a newcomer.

The young girl who comes to Shanghai finally is helped by the kindness of strangers who see that she is in need.

"A city should never be a cold concrete jungle," says Ma Chencheng, a local director of the show.

"Fast-paced urban life has made many urbanites lose the ability to love and care for others. We are trying to evoke their hidden power of love and strengthen the human connections in the city," he says.

The show is a joint effort by domestic artists, such as famed choreographer Huang Doudou and famed directors from urban theater company La Fura dels Baus from Barcelona, Spain.

The performance venue will be the biggest temporary indoor theater in the Expo site - 105 meters long, 20 meters high and 72 meters wide, and seating more than 2,000 spectators.

Its 360-degree rotating stage is shaped like a giant cube, with many LED screens creating a magical and fantasy ambience.

The spectacular will combine advanced multimedia technology with traditional arts like magic and acrobatics, providing a look back in time at Shanghai's history, as well as a look ahead.

"Windows of City"

Date: Through October 31

Venue: Houtan Square, Zone C, Pudong site


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