Nine persons – from Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Macau – are on the stage. Different generations, different identities, artists and non-artists.
Teamed together in a geographic and urban space, they have completely individual experiences and memories. While in China there was the "one child" policy, Macau was still a Portuguese colony and Hong Kong belonged to Great Britain. In Yang Zhen's semi-documentary theater piece, these nine persons come together and try out a common reason for living together. Delta explores urbanity in the 21st century with artistic means – "a blend of social landscape and aesthetics."
Several metropolitan regions converge in the hot and humid Pearl River Delta. These rapidly growing, highly industrialized mega-cities with large populations of migrants are in the Chinese province of Guangdong and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau. They are very close together, but have very different political and economic histories. How do the people live there, what occupies them? Yang Zhen examines the social realities of the river region and discovers here for Delta very unique and powerful image aesthetics. This young Chinese choreographer worked in the respective cities with dancers and non-professional persons who live there. The research was documented and is part of this striking production about the hopes and desires, opportunities and crises, pressures and anxieties of the people in one of the most garish, intensive urban areas in the world.
This will be already the third time the Chinese choreographer Yang Zhen has been a guest at the DANCE festival, where he began his career in 2015. In the meantime, this artist, who studied at the Minzu University of China, is internationally sought-after. His alert social awareness and his very own aesthetics that combine dance, vocals, acting, and visuals in an exciting manner convey a young, thoroughly critical view of today's China. From the start, his first piece Just Go Forward (2014) presented the confrontation between an elderly woman and a young woman, between the individual desire for freedom and the pressure from the collective. In the Field of Hope (2015) looked back to the 1980s and told about the experiences and hopes of the young generation at that time, which acclaimed Deng Xiaoping's economic reform and opening of China. Minorities, which had its world premiere at DANCE 2017, broached the subject of the situation of ethnic groups in his homeland and featured actors and dancers from Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia.
The Pearl River Delta was Yang Zhen's inspiration for Delta, his latest work that will have its world premiere at DANCE 2019. One of the most densely populated, highly industrialized zones in the world is arising here. Yang Zhen is interested in the social results of this development: concentrated luxury and underdeveloped regions, migration movements, co-existence, integration, ostracism, and the effects the pace of life in the dense cities has on the inhabitants.
Director and choreographer: Yang Zhen
Performers: Summer Wang, Fu Binjing, Djani Teta Katumbayi, Lou Hio Mei, Wong In Fan, Albert Garcia, Loku Ero Nikaido, Danny Lau Pui-Lung, Mui Cheuk-Yin
Lighting design: Yang Zhen
Costume design: Yang Zhen
Set design and properties: Zhang Yongji
Production manager: Jing Xian Li
Agent: Menno Plukker Theatre Agency, Inc.
In Cooperation with the Meta-Theatre and the support of the Goethe Institute.
Photos: © Yang Zhen