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Mission impossible at the Bird's Nest

Updated: 2012-09-07 09:39
By Chen Nan ( China Daily)

Mission impossible at the Bird's Nest

A design sketch from the outdoor show at the Bird's Nest, Attraction. Provided to China Daily

The iconic Bird's Nest is about to become a fantasy wonderland, an ancient Chinese garden and a futuristic metropolis.

After a year of preparation, film director Lu Chuan will unveil the huge stage show Attraction on Sept 21 at the main stadium of the 2008 Olympic Games, the Beijing National Stadium.

"The show incorporates Chinese elements and international styles, and will overall be a stunning visual and audio experience," says Lu, who, together with his team, has visited the United States and Macao to learn about outdoor shows.

When Li Aiqing, president of the State-owned Assets Management Co Ltd, which is responsible for operating Beijing's Olympic venues, talked about the project with Lu, Lu was attracted by the challenge and described it as "mission impossible".

Inspired by a love story set in the future, it incorporates elements from plays, dance, musicals, magic shows and acrobatics.

"The whole venue will become the stage," Lu says. "More than 10,000 square-meter LEDs, along with live projections, will be used."

Mission impossible at the Bird's Nest

Singers from Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland, including Alan, Tan Jing, Tan Weiwei and Kenji Wu, will take part.

"It's an adventure crossing different cultures," says singer Alan, who is from the Tibet autonomous region and started her career in Japan. To create a dreamy and romantic scene, the big-eyed, Barbie-doll-like singer will perform with heartthrob Zhang Lunshuo - underwater. Folk singer Tan Jing will fly by wire while singing.

Having made a reputation with films like Nanking Nanking (2009), Mountain Patrol (2004) and The Missing Gun (2002), Lu directs a large-scale performance for the first time and his ambition is to make the original Chinese an international success.

Attraction is supported by an international production team, with members from the Beijing Olympic Games production team, France's ECA2 and Britain's Studio Output.

Emi Wada, who won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design in 1986, will design the costumes. According to the artist, all the costumes match the scenes and special effects.

Actor Liu Ye, who is director Lu's longtime friend, will play the bad guy role in the show. Wada designed a long black cloak, long horns and pronounced makeup for him.

"I wanted to play the role of a handsome prince but turned out to be a greedy and evil guy," jokes Liu, who showed off his talent for singing and dancing in director Meng Jinghui's classic stage drama Amber.

Lu isn't the first film director to venture into this field, as Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige and Feng Xiaogang have also tried their hands at directing shows of this ilk.

For Lu, there are similarities directing films and outdoor shows. He adds that he is not simply staging a show, but making good use of an Olympic venue.

"We want to establish a business model that is transparent, fair, and regulated," he says.

The first round of Attraction will be staged from Sept 21 to Oct 7. Ticket prices range from 180 yuan ($28) to 1,680 yuan.