Tianwen (Premiere 2012)

More than two thousand years ago, Qu Yuan composed a vast poem called Tianwen (“Heavenly Questions”) with more than a hundred questions. His thoughts on the origin of the universe, myths and legends, social history, etc. have amazed readers of his works today.

Inspired by the stone carvings and brick paintings found in Han Dynasty tombs, we believe that the rich visual imagery of the relevant figures and symbols can be contrasted with Qu Yuan’s ancient texts. However, it is a challenge to bring the static art of writing and painting to a dynamic and dramatic form.

In 2012, CTW was invited to create a new play Tianwen for the “First International Banners and Cranks” Festival at the “Here” Theater in New York City. The artists use magnets and rods to make the puppets move and the “cranky scroll” rotate. The voice of Chang’ Er, the Jade Rabbit and the Celestial Toad in the Moon Palace interpret the ancient Chinese myths through operatic chants and dances.

Production Credits:
Directors, Writers: Kuang-Yu Fong, Stephen Kaplin (with original text from Qu Yuan)

Puppet Design: Stephen Kaplin, Yibing Fan

Performers: Fei Wang, Xing Wang, Kuang-Yu Fong, Stephen Kaplin