You can literally expect “Hell Culture”

A play more than just a love story. What will happen when a ghost who wears a beautified painted human skin fells in love with a mankind?

This July, “Painted Skin Returns” will make its debut in London. The story is based on a traditional Chinese horror story from the ancient Chinese literature classic titled “Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio”. It employs the form of drama and integrates various ethnic and cultural elements such as shadow play, masks, modern dances, operas, Chinese classical dances, Butoh, and mime. It presents a core Chinese philosophy and worldviews of Buddhism, allowing the traditional culture to “resurrect” on contemporary drama stages.

The Painted Skin Returns depicts a fight between evil and morality, love and desire, mirage and death. A ghost wears an outwardly human face mask and it falls in love with a scholar. The purpose of this mime is to explore desires, emotions and lusts through the post-modernist experimental performance, the brand-new form of presentation of the play is expected to bring impressive visual experiences to audiences.

Find What You Love

And let it kill you

How to present

This is a piece of explorator work. Its highlight is the embodiment of the selection of body drama, the maximum limit to use the form of the stage performance to replace generic narratives and ideologies, and the Nuo opera, drama, Mask art, modern dance and other artistic elements are organically integrated into it. Also, this play is used a lot of postmodern ways to present this story. The creative team of this play is very confident about presenting the Eastern traditional culture with Western art forms. They believe that although the story originates in China, the story belongs to the world. The story told in this play and the emotions of the characters may resonate with the people from all over the world. Before this play, the director and producer have used the Western language to present the traditional Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet in London, and it caused an instant sensation. Even though the culture and language are different, the draw to the audiences is the same.

“ I bogged down in a sea of blood back legs, unable to stop, go back, as far as like, people feel that there is no retreat. The future is a marshy area, people got in deeper ”

What to express

"Painted skin" is a famous ancient story filled with love, suspense and horror. When people penetrate its epidermis, can see the purity of heart and the depth of love. People usually wonder why we love someone? Maybe love each other's strengths, maybe even the other's shortcomings, in the end people still needs love. Or perhaps, just make yourself be needed. It may sound silly, but the story clearly points out the strength and weakness of love. Every person is born for love, in the process of finding love, one is bound to collide with the reality, only the brave may have the opportunity to taste the fruit of love. According to the play, I gather that demon or human, they all need true love for their redemption from all their own frailties.

Embody universal artistic aesthetic and commonalties

Frontier theatre performing form

Creative process

Speaking of the process of creating this show, the producer said they want to make something to join the Endigurge Fringe Featival, which refers to the drama “painted skin”. I deem it a very interesting attempt by the producers. As far as I am concerned, I am very interested in everything related to “ghosts” and we have been doing works related to “ghosts”.For me, the world of ghosts is not as evil as we imagined. On the contrary, the human world may be more sinister than the world for ghosts. I felt very touched in my communication with the Director as we shared a lot in common. After all, challenging oneself and jumping out of one’s comfort zone call for courage. Cast of this play are students from different countries. As a student troupe, the biggest problem it faces is still funding. Our members are together because of our love of drama. In order to compose music, students from Portugal tried to understand traditional Chinese cultures, and we introduced him the Chinese understanding of the Hades. One thing that boggles my mind is that all cultures have their own interpretations of the world for ghosts.