On April 15, I went to the Grand Canyon for graduation trip with some classmates. When we returned to Chicago on April 20, we happened to see a playbill for Shen Yun show by Chinese Art Troupe at W. Washington Street. My classmate Alice is an American girl from Seattle. Since she had never been to China, she was curious about my home country and home town. Then and there an idea came into my mind that I should treat Alice to a show on Chinese culture since I cherished the friendship between Alice and me.
I felt disturbed when I booked tickets for I think the tickets may sell like hot cakes since the show was claimed to be so wonderful that many celebrities made recommendation. What’s more, the show on April 22 would be the last one. To my surprise, I booked tickets easily on Ticket Boxing website. There were still a plenty of seats available for our selection. I booked two seats in the middle of the rear part. After all, the ticket was pretty expensive. I had to pay at least UD$80 for each one. But I tolerated the high price so as to fulfill the dream of Alice.
Ticket for Shen Yun Show in Chicago on April 22
On the afternoon of April 22, I took my camera, and went to the theatre with Alice. I expected to see a large crowd of people at the gate of the theatre. To my surprise, there were only a few employees in Tang Suit who were distributing leaflets to audiences and passersby. Few people showed interest in the show. It looked fairly deserted.
I was astonished when I got the program list, which told that the show was sponsored by the US-China Falun Dafa Society. Isn’t it Falun Gong? But neither the playbill nor the advertisement told us about it. I knew Falun Gong was a heretical cult, but I had not got access to any of practitioners. What I know was that they often hold banners and distribute leaflets outside the consular office. Few people in Chicago believed in Falun Gong. It seemed that the American people are rather inclusive because Falun Gong was eradicated in China. I was nervous because I did not know whether somebody would persuade us to become a follower of Falun Gong.
About one-thirds of seats remained vacant at 13:45, only 15 minutes left to the start of show. It seemed that the show was not as popular as claimed. Most of the audiences were foreigners. The theatre was in such a mess that I think the organizers need to improve their working ability. The audiences were slow in taking seat; the brochure and program lists were thrown here and there, even in the restroom, dustbins and on the ground. What a waste. Alice and I took our seats, but I was rather nervous.
The show eventually started. To my point of view, the only bright spot of the performance is the costume. The colorfully Tang suit should give the foreigners freshfeelings. Although the dancing programs were in unison, the show had some obvious weak points: 1. The program list reflected that the show was not arranged logically The programs include Lady General Mu Takes Command, Sentiment for Huaibei, Flying Snow Welcomes Spring’s Return., The Return, all of which made the show a hodgepodge without any clear theme. 2. The dancing is quite mediocre technically. The typical turning movements in classic dancing were performed at slow pace; the dancing movements on martial arts were too soft to reflect speed and strength. The dancing programs were just enough to fool foreigners. 3. The singing programs were rather boring. The singers had good singing techniques; but the words of songs were insipid and the melodies were mediocre. The repetitive singing made a foreign old man in front me fall asleep…4. The show presented political ideas about anti-CPC (Communist Party of China). About three to four programs presented such ideas, including the red dragon in Kaiyuan Overture, and the malicious policeman (who wore a black suit with a red party emblem on his back) in Choice and Story about Meeting Fairy. But I don’t know whether the foreigners understood the ideas.