The performance is based
on a Chinese musical movie made in 1961. You could call
this a light show or a stage show but it is neither.
This is a major production with a cast of 600 singers,
dancers, bamboo boats and cormorants bids. However,
the stand out performer is definitely the background
scenery. The backdrop is the
karst peaks and they are lit up by coloured lights.
The 600 people sing and dance with flame-torches,
traditional costumes and illuminated costumes (bulbs)
together with ducks, comorants, water buffalos. All
this takes place on the river on rafts, movable gangways
and also on the banks. There is some screechy Chinese
Opera style music but the rest is more contemporary.
The show was designed and directed by Zhang
Yimao, who has been awarded to task of directing the
opening ceremony at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Liu San Jie (Third Sister Liu) and her stories
are very popular among the Zhuang people in southwest
Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. According to the local
tale, Liu San Jie was born in a village along the Liujiang
River of Guangxi in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). She
was not only beautiful but also good at singing folk
songs. At the age of 17, Liu San Jie fell in love with
a handsome young man who was also a good folk singer.
The two swore never separate in their lives.
The peaceful happiness was, however, broken
by a hooligan in the village who had been for a long
time attracted by Liu's beauty. This evil man decided
to take Liu San Jie by force. He got his chance on a
moonlight night when Liu and her lover were sitting
on a big rock at riverside to enjoy the beauty of the
moon. Suddenly, a gang of hooligans surrounded them.
Liu San Jie and her lover had no way to escape, with
no hesitation, the couple jumped into the roaring Liujiang
River, hand in hand. Nowadays, on the day of March 3,
local people will gather along the riverside of the
Liujiang River, organizing a folk-song competition to
mourn Liu San Jie.