Journey to the West, which is one of the Four Great Chinese Classical novels, occupies a very important position in Chinese Literature, and also has quite an influence in the world. Between 2008 and 2010, China National Theatre for Children has staged three shows of Journey to The West, which were quite popular among the audiences.
In May 2016, China National Theatre for Children formally proposed the cooperation to create an international Puppetry Show–Journey to the West with Romanian Tandarica Animation Theatre, and after several rounds of discussion and communication, two sides finally reached the cooperation plan. Recommended by Tandarica Animation Theatre, China National Theatre for Children invited two Romanian Artists, Mr. Calin Mocanu and Ms. Andreea Duta to be the Director and Choreographer for the coproduction program.
Besides and outstanding artist, Mr. Calin Mocanu also works as the General Manager of Tandarica Animation Theatre, and President of ASSITEJ Romania Centre. Ms. Andreea Duta is a famous dance artist and choreographer in Romania who has won many national prizes of Romania in both classical and modern dance; since 2005, she started teaching choreography and composition at the University of Theatre and Film, Bucharest. Their creation and artistic conception together with Chinese actors and artists will together make this show a model of international cooperation with Chinese manner, Chinese style and Chinese characteristic as well as international visions. This show will be written into both theatres’ history to mark the great art cooperation between two countries’ artists. In December, the whole creation team of Journey to The West was formed. Artists from both countries have started their creation work and rehearsal already. The premiere of this show will be on January 30, 2017, which will be a big surprise and great present for Chinese audiences during the Chinese Spring Festival.
We hope to introduce Chinese excellent traditional culture to the international by adopting the most popular and easily acceptable drama style in the world. We choose to cooperate on Journey to The West because as one of the four great Chinese masterpieces written 400 years ago, this story is not only popular in China, but also known to international audiences. This show explains Chinese attitude toward the world and life; contains Chinese spiritual pursuit and value orientation. These thoughts are still meaningful today. We would like to share with the world through drama performance.
Created by artists from both China and Romania, this production made full use of the advantages of both sides. The play “Journey to the West” is specifically designed with images and multiple visual elements with few texts: actors dressed in whimsical costumes, compound puppets with actors, oversized characters, movable masks, dance moments and theatrical strives, song and instrumental music, media projection, special light and sound effects, verbal and nonverbal language. It has also adopted distinct Chinese art characteristics together with international concept and modern western art forms. All these elements however, complement each other and facilitate the understanding of the play. The collaboration for this performance welded forevermore the Chinese and Romanian teams, who thus started to write a new history of the contemporary visual theatre for children and teenagers.
Since the relationship was established between each other in November 2014, China National Theatre for Children and Tandarica Animation Theatre have maintained a close and friendly cooperation and communication. Especially, after signing the strategic cooperation agreement in February 2015, following the “Three Steps”, the two theatres have realized multiple interactions on both artist and performance exchanges. The mutual understanding between each other has deepened and bilateral friendly cooperation is proceeding in a smooth and fruitful way.