Cyberpunk theater work turns warehouse into futuristic party zone
Published: Jun 27, 2021 06:13 PM
A scene from <em>Spectacle</em> Photo: Courtesy of OCT Yunnan

A scene from Spectacle Photo: Courtesy of OCT Yunnan

A scene from <em>Spectacle</em> Photo: Courtesy of OCT Yunnan

A scene from Spectacle Photo: Courtesy of OCT Yunnan

A scene from <em>Spectacle</em> Photo: Courtesy of OCT Yunnan

A scene from Spectacle Photo: Courtesy of OCT Yunnan

It is a normal day at the club in the future year of 2099. Everyone is waiting with high anticipation to see who will be chosen to spend the night with the AI queen. 

It may seem like a scene from a sci-fi cyberpunk movie like Blade Runner 2049, but in actuality is a theater work being held at a warehouse-turned-stage in Dali, Southwest China's Yunnan Province. 

The experimental drama, Spectacle, which took chief director Yang Le and his team four years to complete, tells a story about how an AI scientist, Turing, tries to help an AI learn about human knowledge, wisdom and, most importantly, emotions and love by interacting with human beings such as actors and the show's audience.   

After the show's debut on Saturday, Yang said that Spectacle is more than a simple theater work, it is also an experiment merging art and technology that is trying to get audiences to rethink the connection between technology and life. 

The entire story takes place at an old transformer factory in Dali, which has been turned into a futuristic cyberpunk-style club through the efforts of architect Zhang Jiyuan. The giant art installation by Chinese artist Fei Jun and his team members also helps to carry the story forward with futuristic life scenes. 

Yang said that he was inspired by the obstacles that technology has brought modern life and the resulting loss of desire, misery and self-redemption. 

"As a well-known international destination, Dali attracts thousands of travelers, who hope to be enlightened on relationships between human and nature, people and life, and people and people," said Yang, who has great expectations for the experimental work, which was produced by Chinese culture and tourism giant OCT Yunnan to become a landmark that can introduce Dali to the world.  

The debut of the show at the tourism giant's Yunnan festival is the local tourism industry's latest effort to target young audiences.  

The show's creative storylines, innovative design and artistic style have been well received, earning it an 8/10 on Chinese media review platform Douban. 

"At first, I was attracted to its cyberpunk style, but gradually I became part of the immersive show. You can't miss some interactions like puzzle-solving and clues. These are things traditional theater works can't give to you," reads one review. 

Another audience member, Kiki Laya, said that she was deeply immersed in the party, "where we can get to know each other, laugh, sing and dance together."