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October 1, 2009

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Home » Feature » Art and Culture

Play involves new 'acting' firsts

YOU may have seen many stage plays, but here's a fresh one that you may not know. "Bring Me to the Moon," a new act being performed by ocean creatures and birds at Changfeng Park's Ocean World, tells the fairytale of a little boy and an elf.

It will be a highlight of the park during the National Day holiday, with three or four performances each day.

It's an "I Have a Dream" story which starts with a boy who accidentally ruins a nest when getting a big bird's egg.

To realize the dream of a little elf hiding in the egg - getting to the moon and bringing back jewels that could make him healthy and happy - the little boy tries to help the elf. This includes learning from various animals how to fly to the moon, such as a beluga and sea lions.

Eventually the elf achieves his dream and the little boy also realizes that animals are actually human's friends.

"We're never short of dreams. What we lack is the determination and responsibility behind the dreams," says Fan Shujuan, director of the Ocean World.

"So we chose a little elf who has a dream but is also afraid of failure as one of the main characters of the play - we want to encourage our young audience to achieve their dreams, never worrying about failure."

It's not the first time Ocean World has performed an animal play. In 2007, they did "The Secret of the Treasure Case" to great acclaim. And this time more animals are involved.

This time Ocean World incorporates two groups of sea lions, one of which involves several about three to four years old. The other group is huge, led by a 13-year-old sea lion named Bodega.

It came from America last Christmas, weighing about 300 kilograms and in summer it dines on over 6 kilograms of fish every day.

The performance with a beluga and a professional acrobat will be the highlight of the play.

The beluga is celebrated as the "sea canary" because of its beautiful movements and sound and in the play it shows up in the finale and pushes the story to the climax.

In addition, a parrot from Columbia will be another highlight of the show, the first time for a bird to perform in a stage play.

Apart from animals and human participants, the trainers will also be involved. Although they're all very skilled, the trainers are not professional actors and for them even a smile may not be easy.

So Ocean World has invited Wang Luoyong, the first Chinese man to take a leading role in a Broadway play, as director of the play.

"We started rehearsals in August," says Fan. "They often lasted until midnight at the start because our trainers were not good at acting."

But with hard work, they made great progress.

"Now we can control our expressions and perform naturally," says Li Ge, trainer of the beluga. "The point is not only the performing skills, but we also have to take care of our animals when we're acting. It's a big challenge and without trust we could never make it."

"That's what we want to show to our young audience," adds Fan. "We want to make this play educational for children, telling them that human and animals should love and help each other, and only trust will help overcome all difficulties."

Date: through November 15, 8:30am-5pm

Address: 451 Daduhe Rd, Gate 4 of Changfeng Park

Buses: 44, 67, 94, 846, 944, 766, Tour 6A/6B

Admission: 130 yuan for adults, 90 yuan for children under 1.4 meters tall


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