EDINBURGH, June 9 (Xinhua) -- An award-winning show combining puppetry, video and animation about an ancient Chinese sailor Thursday enchanted audiences here with China's exploratory, friendly, and inclusive culture.
The hour-long show tells the tale of the fantastic journeys of the famous Chinese explorer, Zheng He, whose seven voyages took him from Indonesia, India and the Arabian coast to Africa from 1405 to 1433, almost 100 years before Italy's Christopher Columbus set off to America.
The performance by Karin Schafer of Figuren Theater from Austria presents how Zheng's fleet of more than 300 enormous "dragon ships" encounters some of the people he met on his journey: a scholar from an Arabian country, an African fisherwoman, and a businesswoman from Southeast Asia.
The event was organized by the Confucius Institute for Scotland at the University of Edinburgh, in association with Scotland-China Education Network, to improve local knowledge about the great Chinese explorer and the ancient Chinese trade and cultural exchanges. There are three performances a day.
Inspired by the show, Sean Sproull, a high school teacher in Edinburgh, told Xinhua the performance style was helpful to improve local students' knowledge about China's history and culture.
Schafer, the director of the show, said in the past she knew little about Zheng's story, and as such, the show aims to help more foreigners become closer acquainted with China.
Winner of the Austrian Children and Youth Theatre Award "STELLA" 2011 and other awards in China, the production has won many plaudits for its innovative set design, which features interaction between the video and the action on the stage.
The animated films, video clips, shadow images and masks form a poetic space which develops the narrative on a visual level, while the multi-lingual audio and musical score ensure that audience members are fully engaged by the production.