, Tianjin, February 5th, title: "Three Monks" went out of the circle, acrobatic art innovation does not forget the origin

  Author: Zhang Shaoxuan Cui Jingsheng

  In the early morning of the Lantern Festival, the sounds of moving props and rehearsals in the practice room of the Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe can be heard endlessly. Facing the wisps of sunlight shining into the room, everything looks warm and beautiful.

  During the Spring Festival, a funny acrobatic "Three Monks" that landed on Henan Satellite TV's "2023 China Acrobatics Gala" became popular and caused widespread discussion.

Its performers are three performers from Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe, Wang Lei, He Ran and Wang Song.

The funny and acrobatic "Three Monks" was recorded on Henan Satellite TV and received rave reviews during the Spring Festival.

Photo provided by the interviewee

  Traditional culture has once again resonated with people of different age groups through screens and integrated media.

Some people have regained the joy of childhood, some have seen the revival of traditional culture, and some people are so novel that acrobatics can play so "storytelling".

  The reporter chatted with Wang Lei and the performers of the Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe about cultural development and the joy of Chinese acrobatics entering the homes of ordinary people on the rehearsal ground.

They said that when talking about "Chinese culture", many people may think it is too abstract.

But when it's performed in acrobatic form, culture seems to come to life.

  Traditional acrobatics are amazing through difficult tricks.

Today's acrobatics use the way of storytelling, combined with more techniques to attract people to talk about.

"Three Monks" became popular, not just a show, but the cultural confidence and innovation of traditional culture after its rejuvenation.

  Childhood Creative Achievement "Treasure Program"

  The funny acrobatics "Three Monks", which landed on Henan Satellite TV, interprets Chinese-style funny with Chinese stories, and reproduces the classic stories in the memory of the post-70s and post-80s.

The animation is used as the creative background and the main line of the story to carry out artistic extension.

  On November 1, 2018, in the 10th China Acrobatics Golden Chrysanthemum Award Competition, "Three Monks" won the only gold award in the current comedy competition.

Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe's funny and acrobatic work "Three Monks" performance.

Photo provided by the interviewee

  However, this is not the first award it has won.

The "Three Monks" when it was first established was not what everyone sees today from the way of expression to the format of the program.

  Nevertheless, at that time it won the Gold Award for Creation of the 7th National Acrobatics Competition Wenhua Award, the Gold Award of the 9th Wuhan Optics Valley Cup International Acrobatics Competition, and the Silver Award of the 4th Russian Izhevsk International Circus Competition.

  On January 23, 2023, after the funny version of "Three Monks" was recorded on Henan Satellite TV's "2023 China Acrobatics Gala", it aroused rave reviews on the Internet.

Many netizens used adjectives such as "childhood reissue", "lost memories started to attack me again", "funny acrobatics made me cry", "I didn't expect acrobatics to be so fun" and other adjectives to blow up the Internet.

  Eddie, an Australian who is engaged in import and export trade in Tianjin, has watched "Three Monks" and also gave a thumbs up: "Chinese culture is very simple and fun. I like the playful music in the show so much. Play the jar as easily as a handkerchief, amazing!"

  "Three Monks" quickly became popular during the Spring Festival. In fact, its creation process has undergone many adjustments and improvements, and finally became what people see today.

  When Wang Lei was young, he studied children's dance in Tianjin Sanmao Art Troupe. When he was 10 years old, he performed the dance drama "Three Monks" and won the first prize in Tianjin Children's Dance Competition.

At that time, the bursts of applause from the audience left a deep impression on Wang Lei's young mind.

  After entering the acrobatic troupe, Wang Lei mastered the skill of topping flower beds.

After browsing through childhood dance stills by accident, he hit it off with his friend Shi Xiaoliang, an actor from the Tianjin Youth Peking Opera Troupe, and jointly created the show "Three Monks" based on the form of Peking Opera and acrobatics on top of flower beds.

He Ran (blue), Wang Lei (red) and Wang Song (yellow) are performing "Three Monks".

Photo provided by the interviewee

  Later, under the direction of famous opera master Zhao Dezhi, the show was combined with Kunqu opera "Double Down the Mountain" to create the acrobatic "Altar Skill".

  Through the performance, Wang Lei found that "Three Monks" is widely loved. In order to make the story of the show more complete, Wang Lei began to have the idea of ​​restoring childhood memories.

  The improved funny acrobatics are based on the classic animation that won the Best Animation Film Award at the first Golden Rooster Award in 1981. It makes full use of professional skills such as "flower bed", "funny clown" and "magic" in the acrobatic category. , the temple caught fire, the young monks put out the fire until the last three people worked together to draw water, not only criticized the backward thinking of "the three monks have no water to eat", but also promoted the traditional virtue of "people are united, and Mount Tai is moved".

  "At that time we had a total of four actors, Wang Lei, He Ran, Wang Song, and Zhou Chenguang. Zhou Chenguang played a village girl, a witness to the story, and also played a role in connecting. But in the version broadcast on Henan Satellite TV this year Due to time constraints, this role was removed." Wang Lei said.

  As a category of Chinese acrobatics, farce has a history of thousands of years.

How to find a way to adapt to contemporary aesthetics and make Chinese-style comics has always been the pursuit of Wang Lei and countless Chinese acrobats.

  When they performed in European comedy specials, Wang Lei and his partners repeatedly studied the performance characteristics of famous comedians such as "Chaplin" and "Mr. Bean", and believed that national characteristics should be the central idea that burlesque performances should contain.

  "What belongs to the nation belongs to the world. We must dig deep into traditional Chinese historical stories and find themes from traditional culture to carry our literary and artistic creations, so as to create classic works of Chinese comedians themselves." Wang Lei said.

  Telling Chinese stories well makes traditions more vivid

  Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe is an old troupe founded in the 1950s. According to its director Liu Jun, the old troupe should always maintain a young heart.

Nowadays, there are more than 230 actors in the whole troupe, and nearly 40 acrobatic categories can be performed at their fingertips.

  "Innovation has always been encouraged in the troupe, and we are also thinking about how to combine traditional culture with modern art to go further and expand the path of acrobatics. First of all, we must create works with spiritual connotations and the core of the story .Chinese acrobatics used to pay attention to thrills and surprises, and emphasized technology but less stories. Literary and artistic works lack spiritual connotation and less appeal and vitality."

  Whether it's "Three Monks" or "Bring Cultural Relics to Life" launched by the Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe on Museum Day last year, works that reproduce classic cultural relics with acrobatic skills are all aimed at making the inheritance that lasted thousands of years fun, Give spiritual connotation to literary and artistic creation.

  Nowadays, the Internet and integrated media have pushed many literary and artistic works to the public, and its spreading speed and effect can be seen.

In the torrent of the times, traditional culture must innovate and break the rules. In the final analysis, "content is king".

Liu Fang (middle) performed the magic trick "Fish Rhythm Flows Fragrance".

Photo provided by the interviewee

  At present, Liu Fang, a magician of the Tianjin Acrobatic Troupe, is also polishing her own work - the magic "Yu Yun Liu Fang", absorbing the essence from tradition, and combining modern means to create a new magic that combines sound and light.

  "Fish Rhythm and Flowing Fragrance" has been selected into the "2020 National Art Fund Small Drama (Show) Program and Work Creation Funding Project". The work is adapted from the ancient color trick "Fishing" with a history of hundreds of years.

  "In order to improve the quality and level of the program, further integrate opera elements into it, and refine magic skills, I boldly innovated on the basis of retaining tradition, and added traditional opera and Tianjin regional cultural elements." Liu Fang said.

The magic "Fish Rhythm and Flowing Fragrance" combines Tianjin's regional culture and traditional opera elements.

Photo provided by the interviewee

  During the performance, the actors appeared on the stage in the costumes and figures of Peking Opera Huadan, and skillfully performed skills such as changing fish with bare hands and catching fish in the air. The stage equipment is used as props, and the artistic effect is magnificent.

  "Tianjin people are experts at playing with fish, but fish are not domesticable like pigeons, and fish will lose their lives if they leave the water for too long." On the stage, it is a big task to make the fish and water in the fish tank disappear and then return challenge.

In 2018, "The Rhythm of Fish" won the gold medal in the 10th China Acrobatics Golden Chrysanthemum Awards Magic Competition. The improved and perfected program will soon be on the stage and hit higher international awards in the future.

  "Three Monks" and "Fish Rhyme and Fragrance" pursue the essence of Chinese traditional culture, allowing the audience to appreciate the classics while evoking reflections on the significance of reality.

And acrobatic art is also a kind of behavioral culture, it is skillful, affectionate, reasonable, and more hearty.

  Chinese acrobats such as Liu Jun, Wang Lei, and Liu Fang are sticking to the "soul" of acrobatic art. They innovate without forgetting their roots, new creations, and old traditions, making this art even more ancient.