I am interested in traditional Chinese culture. I usually follow information about Chinese costumes, Beijing opera, and Chinese traditional instruments. There is a small group of people in China who are also interested in traditional culture, but the influence of Guochao design limits the majority of people’s knowledge of traditional culture. I hope that more people will be able to enjoy their traditional culture, so I wanted to explore some fresh forms of incorporating traditional culture, as I did in my final project. I tried to use mazes and immersive theatres to engage people’s interest in Peking Opera and to give them a different way and perspective to reacquaint themselves with a traditional culture that they once found boring.
Current status of traditional culture
The emergence of the national trend has led to young people becoming more aware of and attracted to traditional culture. The most common types of traditional culture found in Chinese universities are Chinese costumes, national treasures and traditional musical instrument societies, and many young people now wear Chinese costumes on trips and traditional festivals. Over time, the act has also ceased to be seen as a rarity and a rare occurrence. However, the Beijing opera, a frequently used element of national trend design, has not been re-loved by young people. Although, Beijing opera is appearing more and more frequently at major parties such as the Spring Festival Gala and the Lantern Festival, the form of its performance remains the same. According to Pan Junqiang (2021), young people under the age of 25 make up less than 20% of the audience, with middle-aged and older people predominating. Young people still rarely choose Peking Opera as one of their daily entertainment activities. This is the main reason that leads to the casual use or misuse of visual elements of Peking opera in national trend design.
I have researched new forms of performance such as immersive theatre, interactive theatre, and various kinds of theatre involving high technology. While interactive theatre and high tech seem more relevant to young people, these forms also do not blend in with traditional Peking Opera. The immersive theatre would be more in line with the needs of my project, extracting symbols from the Peking Opera story scenes and combining them with mazes to achieve a form similar to immersive theatre.
Legend of The White Snake
The story takes place in Hangzhou, Suzhou, and Zhenjiang during the Song Dynasty. Bai Suzhen is a snake spirit who has been cultivated for a thousand years. In order to repay Xu Xian for saving her life in a previous life, she takes on a human form and wants to repay the favour. She meets the green snake spirit Xiaoqing and the two of them form a partnership. Bai Suzhen uses her magical powers to get to know Xu Xian and marry him.
After the marriage, Fa Hai, a monk from the Jinshan Temple, tells Xu Xian that Bai Suzhen is a snake spirit, but Xu Xian is not convinced. Later on, Xu Xian followed Fahai’s advice and made Bai Suzhen drink alcohol with Xiong Huang during the Dragon Boat Festival, which forced Bai Suzhen to reveal her original form, but scared Xu Xian to death. Bai Suzhen went to Heaven to steal the immortal herb Lingzhi to bring Xu Xian back to life.
Bai Suzhen and Xiao Qing fought against Fa Hai and flooded the temple with water, hurting other living creatures. After giving birth to her child, she was taken into the bowl of Fa Hai and suppressed under the Leifeng Pagoda. Later, Bai Suzhen’s son grew up to be a successful scholar and went to the pagoda to pay respects to his mother, rescuing her and reuniting the family.