We are excited to share the new immersive, international broadway musical Sound of the Silk Road! The show premiered in Shaanxi Grand Theatre in Xi’an, China on July 23rd, after which it hit the stage at Xian’s new Silk Road Paradise theme park prior to a subsequent world tour. We have worked for over a year as media designers for the stage for this production and we are enormously proud to see our projections and holograms on stage!
The story reflects the current Generation Z mentality and the influence of social media. The main protagonist, Joey, a teenager, travels back through time to the Han Dynasty and makes many friends on his journey, experiencing the charms of history over time. It is a magical process which the audience witnesses as the play progresses.
The production takes inspiration from a combination of Chinese and western culture. It combines modern multimedia elements with classical stage design elements, creating a very richly designed stage.
flora&faunavisions integrates different media surfaces: Hologauze, LED-Portal and backdrop projection. These are illuminated differently in each musical scene, creating a rhythmic, alternating projection design in each musical scene.
The story starts with a journey to an excavation site where Joey and his friends discover an ancient time travel machine. Upon entering the machine, the stage is illuminated by a full-width media projection. The combination of the backdrop and hologauze projection creates an illusion of holograms. The audience gets immersed in the hypnotic circular movement of the projection, creating a true time-travel illusion.
Joey experiences different adventures during his journey through the Han Dynasty, when he also meets Susu, a Chinese princess. One of the most spectacular scenes is the Song Connected by the stars, where Joey and Susu sing their love song. The geometric projection of abstract star signs creates a voluminous yet filigree stage design underlining the romantic atmosphere of the overall stage moment.
One of the most poetic moments in this musical is the revealing of the spirit horse. The turbulent sandstorm animation introduces the magical animal surrounded by blue smoke. We created the animation using Cinema4D and Houdini and rendered the final animation in Redshift. The double projection on the hologauze and backdrop wall combined with light, music and the actors' performance makes this scene one of the most memorable of the overall show and immerses the public entirely.
The show ends with a big finale on stage. All actors are reunited and sing the last song together. They all go through the Gateway, symbolizing the gate to the Silk Road, and connecting people on their journey which is filled with opportunities and cultural exchange.
Music by Peter Kam
Lyrics by Liang Meng
Book by Marc Acito
Directed by Gabriel Barre
Set Design by Walt Spangler
Costume Design by Ding Ding
Lighting by Ken Billington
Projection Design by Studio Leigh Sachwitz & flora&faunavisions
Puppets Designed by Stefano Brancato
Image Credits: Alex Zheng, Wang Xiang, flora&faunavisions GmbH