CHINESE GHOST STORY
LIAO ZHAI ZHI YI is a collection of short Ghost stories in ancient China created by the famous Chinese novelist Songling Pu in Qing Dynasty. There are 491 short stories in the book. Each story happens between ghosts and human. The content is simple but very intriguing. Just like ancient Greek mythology, ghosts have their own personalities, sometimes they are omnipotent and sometimes they also do some stupid things. I think there are huge potential on characters, I’d love to adapt these stories on stage.
To be honest, we have continuously been instilled with knowledge of ancient Greek mythology since we were young, and we can use the allusions in it frequently. But it is essential for foreigners to know Chinese myths and its vast diversity.
I did a questionnaire to find out how well foreigners understand Chinese myths and ghost stories. The result is not surprising, most of them knew nothing about that. So the misunderstanding of Chinese culture is taken for granted.
I constantly have the passion to start an experiment about the best way to adapt an ancient painting on stage. If I manage to interpret the original costume form that painting, can actors meet their characters by simply putting my costume on.
The space design for Liao Zhai Zhi Yi can be concluded as a small duplicate of ancient cities in the original novel. It should be set in buildings can provide large, open, indoor space, such as an old factory. Audiences will also be asked to change costumes that fit the time setting at the entrance. Inside the factory, venues separate
the space as well as streets in Qing Dynasty bazaar. Following the guidance, audiences will be led to the middle channel of the city where shops decorate in different theme open for them to walk in. Each shop can be considered as a small immersive performance space, where they can enjoy different scenes adapt from the
novel, there will be a back door attached to each shop, which can prevent audiences from continuously watching the same performance. I drew a rough atmosphere map for each scene.