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Stories behind the Golden Autumn Drama Contest
Author:Wan Qian  Date:2018-11-12  Clicks:

The Golden Autumn Festival of Wuhan University, also known as Luojia Autumn Festival, was launched in 1987. During the past decades, it has become one of WHU’s flagship cultural events. Each year, activities and contests held during the Golden Autumn Festival are hot topics on campus as well as on students’ WeChat moments.

The Drama Contest is unique among all the activities and contests, due to its emphasis on participants’ originality. It requires every participating team to write and produce their own play. “It is entirely about artistic creativity,” a boy from the School of Computer Science said. “We wrote the play, we edited it and even composed the music, we rented the costumes, made the props, and designed every detail on stage. We did almost everything on our own.”

Rehearsal of this year’s champion team

The student is as a member of the School of Computer Science team, who was an actor last year and a playwright this year. He tells me the theme of this year’s contest is “Dream Back to Luojia”. His own story borrows from the storytelling method of the film “Forever Young” and draws from the history of the Wanlin museum.

Besides teamwork, individual performance is also required during the Drama Contest. In this part, the performer needs to improvise for 1 minute based on a given scenario, with only 30 seconds to prepare for the performance.

In this year’s final, a performer from the School of Power and Mechanical Engineering was required to act as a passer-by being suddenly hijacked. He says, “during the initial 30 seconds, the only clue was the beginning that led to the hijacking, and I had to improvise the rest on stage out of pure imagination.”

He finally adopted what he called “the method of joking around”. He improvised funny lines and joked with the “hijacker”, and he also added a tone with exaggerating body language, which prompted laughter and applause.

A performer improvising at the individual acting part

Another student named Yang Zhichao from the School of Law has taken part in the activity for three consecutive years. He says, “We see our work as our own child. When it draws applause and everybody is delighted and moved, we think it deserves everything we put into it.”

Yang Zhichao took the role of an actor when he first participated in the Drama Contest . He describes acting on stage for the first time as sheer excitement. He then became a director and a playwright respectively in the next two years. It is, as he explains, a very tough task, because he needs to make comprehensive plans and sometimes stay up very late to meet a deadline.”

In this year’s Drama Contest, Yang Zhichao tried a new theatrical design, which received quite positive response in the preliminary. His ideas are derived from traditional Chinese shadow play and drums in Chinese opera.

In the final, his work brought alive the history of the Republic of China period and told the story of a warlord. The elements of shadow play, quite subtly and stunningly, connected the different scenes throughout the performance. The Chinese opera drum beat, on the other hand, resonated well with the setting of the play and advanced the development of the plot.

Yang Zhichao’s idea of adopting elements of shadow play on stage

Yang Zhichao did not make it to the final until this year, and this year might well be the last time he takes part in the contest.

Zhichao told me that he is just as excited as the first time he went on stage as an actor. As he put it, the moment your work and ideas are applauded, it deserves everything you put into it.

Photo by Ziqiang News and the interviewee

Edited by Hu Yue, Wangwei, Hu Sijia&Shi Weiya


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