Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Light upon China

Barbara, Deirdre, Pat and Jill had gone for a bamboo boat ride that afternoon, but by seven, when the rest of us met for the show, Deirdre, who was meant to be coming, still had not gotten back. We waited, and waited, until we were in danger of missing the show, then headed off in two groups. As it happened they found Deirdre in time, but it was very close.

The show (I think it was called 'Impressions'), coming so near the end of our travels, was a fitting finale. We arrived in our taxi to find a place jammed with coaches and people. As I say we were rushing, but so seemed everyone else and the walk to the 'theatre' was a long one. A very long one. We had been told there would be spotlights on the karst and dancers, but nothing prepared us for what we actually arrived at. Getting there as the show began we had perfect seats, one row away from the water. I say water, because the 'stage' was a vast lake with around five karst hills behind. A woman floated towards us on a boat singing; it took her minutes to get close. Then the spotlights went on to show the karst. This was on a truly huge scale and in many ways summed up my Chinese experience, for not only was this huge stage impressive, but the hundreds of dancers and boatmen who next appeared simply astounded. It was hard to conceive of such organisation. Towards the end, for instance, hundreds of girls in illuminated costumes began to walk from a far corner of the lake across a path that had not been there before, the lights on their dresses glowing like one long, snakey constellation in the dark. It was breathtaking. I believe the show's director is working on the opening for the Beijing Olympics. If so I will be looking forward to that event.


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