fengjie county in chongqing, located in the heart of the three gorges reservoir area, was honored as a “chinese poetry city” by the chinese poetry society in october 2017. it is currently the only city in china that has been awarded this distinction. li bai, du fu, liu yuxi, lu you, meng jiao, bai juyi, su shi, huang tingjian and other literary giants from all dynasties have written poems here, leaving a legacy of more than 10,000 poems.
return to the three gorges has the heavens and the earth as the stage, with the landscape as the curtain, and with baidi city, the qutang gorge, and the kui gate as the background. the main content of the performance is the culture of poetry and the three gorges, and it reproduces the conceptual creation of poetry, while being presented with high-tech methods and awe-inspiring choreographic effects that allow the audience enjoying the performance to experience both the magnificent natural landscape and its endless cultural charm.
director zhang yimou said that this is his most daring attempt among all his performing arts projects. he changed his standard methods and displayed the culture of tourism in the form of entertainment. return to the three gorges demonstrates the charm of chinese traditional culture through the recitation and interpretation of ancient chinese poetry. for the first time, the show utilizes pure poetry and scene performances throughout the whole process. “i am really looking forward to it”.
"i hope everyone can see something different (in the show). parents take their children to visit the three gorges during the day and watch the show at night, and thus can further understand the culture and the landscape. the elements of poetry are used to realize the enjoyment of culture and beauty through a display of real scenes, and this form is used specifically to spread the excellent culture of the chinese nation”. zhang yimou said that quite frankly his creative team had numerous ideas due to the rich cultural accumulation in the three gorges area. the team hopes that through the performances, the audience will feel the breadth and profundity of chinese culture in a way that is both educational and entertaining. "as far as i’m concerned, this is both a study and an attempt”.
introduction to the content:
10 ancient chinese poems are displayed in a show of about 60 minutes, including du fu's joyful rain on a spring night, mountain climbing, and a quatrain; chen zi’ang's on climbing youzhou tower; liu yuxi's one of two zhuzhi poems; li bai’s early departure from baidi town and thoughts in a quiet night; li shangyin's a rainy night’s lines to wife in the north; and su shi's tune: charm of a maiden singer · memories of the past at red cliff, and prelude to water melody. there are a total of ten poems, and each poem is a chapter. kang zhen, a doctoral tutor at beijing normal university and the guest commentator at the chinese poetry conference provides the voice over and makes comments. the poets’ creative background and poetic conceptions are vividly presented to the audience, allowing them to enjoy both the magnificent natural landscape of the three gorges of the yangtze river, and the beautiful implications of chinese poetry.
return to the three gorges adheres to the concepts of ecology and environment protection, and its innovative use and display of the "water" element is one of the highlights of the project. the show is located in qutang gorge, and most of the actors’ performances are also completed on the water. the respect for and creative treatment of the “water” element can be witnessed throughout the show.
as a launching project to kickstart a new golden era for tourism in three gorges, return to the three gorges strives to create an elaborate cultural work on the yangtze river economic belt. the title of the project is “home coming”, and it includes four distinct meanings. first, the three gorges tourism hotspot comes after “three gorges farewell tour”; second, the splendid poetry culture of fengjie as a “millennium poetry city” returns again; third, director zhang yimou has again returned to direct a large-scale, live-action performance; and fourth, china’s excellent traditional culture is rising once again.
information about the theater:
return to the three gorges is a large-scale, inland water performing arts project that is unique in the world, characterized by large-volume water engineering, complex technology, and a high degree of independent innovation. the performance and the floating audience platform are all built on a barge, with the two platforms connected by two pontoons. the audience’s floating platform is a single-body, flat-bottom, single-deck barge, that is mainly used as the carrier for the audience of return to the three gorges. it is 111.6 meters long, 36 meters wide, and 35.88 meters high. it has a full load displacement of 9,500 tons and an area of 3,800 square meters, and can simultaneously accommodate 1,738 audience members and 100 staff members. the water performance platform has a full load displacement of 20,000 tons, and it is 160.8 meters long and 54 meters wide, with an area of 8,600 square meters.