Cooking a Dream
A play inspired by a novel by Shen Jiji
Director: Huang Ying
Synopsis of Cooking a Dream
It takes a minute to recite a fair Tang poem
an hour to cook a pot of tasty millet
a century to experience a vacillating life
and a millennium to fathom a Chinese philosophy
Art embodies the character of a nation. It is also universal. It cannot show its originality and its particularity without the former; it cannot be understood and appreciated without the latter (ZHAO Tai-mu)
Cooking a Dream is an adaptation for the stage of a novel from Zhenzhong Ji (The Story in the Pillow), a collection of dream-fuelled tales that dates from the Tang dynasty. The traditional tale has inspired a fresh perspective on Chinese cultural identity. This poetic and contemporary production, which draws on the form of Xiqu (Chinese opera), weaves together tradition, modernity, and the mortal and spiritual worlds.
The curtain opens on a young scholar who laments his impoverished existence to a Taoist priest. When the Taoist elder offers the youth a pillow to rest his head on, he lies down, falls asleep and dreams an entire life… By the time he wakes up, the millet porridge is cooked. The pot of millet dictates the length of the performance, and the actors encourage the audience to enjoy its flavour and aroma.
Duration: One hour
Starring: FU Weibo, DONG Wenliang, YUAN Yue, ZhANG Tian, LIU Zhengzhi
Production: Full Show Lane Studio
Co-production and organisation: Association Hybridités France-Chine
Artistic Director: MENG Jinghui
Music: SHI Zhuohong
Producer: AN Ying
Set design: WU Wenchao
Lighting Designer: HAN Dong
Costume Designer: WANG Yan
Multimedia: CHEN Lei
Stage Manager: ZHU Bonan
Lighting Manager: WEN Xiaonan
Assistant Director: XING Hao
Administrator: SUN Weitong
Production and staging in France: WANG jing
Coordination assistant: XIAO Yue
Message from the Director:
Art embodies the character of a nation. It is also universal. It cannot show its originality and its particularity without the former; it cannot be understood and appreciated without the latter." With these words Zhao Tai-mu opened his famous 'National Theatre' (Guoju) article in a Beijing newspaper in 1926.
His assertion subsequently inspired the Guoju (National Theatre) movement that was spearheaded by China's European-educated rising stars of theatre, art and architecture, Yu Shangyuan, Liang Shiqiu, Xu Zhimo and Xiong Fuxi. Eighty years on, this seminal movement has lost none of its relevance. Guoju prompts us to rethink our traditional aesthetic and theatre techniques. In the process, we can glean insight into our own cultural identity and gain greater knowledge of ourselves.
Biography of the Director:
Huang Ying, born in 1978, studied biochemistry before enrolling in the Chinese Central Academy of Drama. He already has 37 original plays to his name that span a staggering range of genres from art theatre to contemporary productions. He is considered one of the most influential Chinese directors of his generation. As a director he seeks to infuse experimental elements into a traditional aesthetic. As a guest of Tadashi Suzuki at the Festival of Asian Directors in France in 2013 and 2014, he created and staged two productions – Mademoiselle Julie and Macbeth – which have toured extensively in Asia.
About the company:
Full Show Lane Studio is an independent theatre company that was founded by Huang Ying in 2012. Its dozen members are artists and teachers who draw on the disciplines of theatre, Chinese opera, dance and music as they collectively breathe new life into the art of theatre and offer unusual and poignant perspectives on contemporary society.