Impression of Impression Sanjie Liu

We went to see the long expected Impression Sanjie Liu 印象刘三姐.

The show was designed to be the highlight of the trip, because of several reasons:

  • It is a show on the Lijiang River, and before the nice mountain.
  • The type of show is very unique in China.
  • It is directed by Zhang Yimou, the director of Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
  • Also, the ticket is very pricey: 188 RMB per person.

Hmm… What is my impression? It is very hard to say.

It is Good in Terms of Economy Return

I did a rough calculation. The ticket price is 188 RMB (or 130 RMB if you get it from tour guide). And there are much more expensive tickets like 380, 680 RMB. There are one to two sessions per day. Every time, the theatre of 2000 people is full.

Let’s say, the performance gets 100 RMB per person net on average, and there are 1.5 performance per day, that is 300,000RMB per night, which is 109 million RMB per year. That is a huge number for a theatre in a county!

The Theatre

The theatre is big – 2000+ people. To my greatest surprise, it is fully packed today. We got a very bad seat at the corner of the second row. I was told that when the show starts, I can change my seat if there are open seat. But, there is no any available seats… It is quite amazing.

Yangshuo shocked me a lot that the 2000 people all fly from different places and get to a theatre in the middle of almost nowhere…

The Show is…. Generally Good

Let me post some photos.

Disclaimer: It is allowed to take photo during the show (it is not a theatre anyway. We were at the river side, and among the mountains) as long as no flash is used.

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

Photograph: Jian Shuo Wang

As you can see, the scenes are very nice – my photography is the problem and I didn’t spend any time in taking the photos, because the scene was very nice.

BUT, Something is Wrong

After the show, Wendy and I briefly exchanged the question: “How do you like it?” followed by long silence. We just feel there is something wrong. Chaos? Distracted? Or something else? Wendy described it as “Modern Vision Art Show” – just vision art, and nothing beyond that.

On the shuttle back, we talked with a girl from Australia, and I suddenly got the feeling. It was exactly the feeling after we saw Zhang Yimou’s movie Curse of the Golden Flower.

Yes. That explains why we feel the first half much better than the second part. In the second part, there is no single person, just a group of people doing exactly the same thing with no personal expression, no individual – just an army of fish men and fish women. Everyone of them are so small and meaningless, but altogether, they formed something big. I don’t like it.

Anyway, I would rate it as excellent show and would recommend others to go and see it.

3 Comments

  1. I saw the show 2 years ago and I cannot agree with your rating. For a show that is meant for globe audience is quite poorly plan. It is a show with big cast, lots of action and singing unfortunately, for viewer that don’t have good Chinese language will not be able to understand what’s happening, it lacks a story teller to make things interesting.

  2. I had the same reaction as Jianshuo. It is big, it is visually appealing, it is colorful… but there seemed to be no center. I had little emotional reaction to it. I am not sure the first poster would have understood much more if she knew Chinese.

  3. Another thing, I guess some credit should be given to coordinating the whole performance on a river. This is much more difficult and complicated as compare to coordinating in an indoor theater which might has a lot of advance technology and automation.

    And to coordinate 500 actor/actresses to put up the each show is not going to be easy as well.

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