World’s First Virtual Interactive Dance Drama ‘Yanzilou: Forgotten Tales’ Brings the Stories of Ancient Tang Courtesans to Life2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Performed by an all-female arts collective in Singapore, the upcoming interactive film Yanzilou: Forgotten Tales, looks to give voices to courtesans, one of history’s most understood groups of women.
Presented by The Hanfugirls Collective, the historical dance drama — the world’s first of its kind — will follow an interactive virtual RPG game format, participants able to choose between thousands of game paths to craft their own unique adventures.
On why the Collective decided to focus on the topic of Courtesans, Founder Pan Pan shared that: “Courtesans across many ancient civilisations toll the line between the most privileged and the most underprivileged groups of people. They were once the most educated women in society, yet they belonged to the caste of slaves.”
“People generally think of them as sex slaves, but they were far above that, as were their relationships with their patrons. With the #Metoo movement in recent years, and the plights of many female celebrities, it’s also timely to look at the ancient past society and restart that conversation about women in arts.”
Set in 754CE, Tang China, the production will follow the rise and fall of the dynasty and the fate of the courtesans.
Yanzilou: Forgotten Tales comes after four years of research, conceptualisation and adaptation through the various COVID restrictions. Showcasing the interconnectedness of civilisations and cultures during the Tang Dyansty has been a key focus for the team. The production will feature performances by professional Bharatnatyam dancer, Rupalavanya, who will reimagine a historically accurate famous Chinese dance classic in the format of an Indian-influenced dance piece.
Further immersing audiences into the Tang Dynasty period is the production’s meticulously crafted sets and props. The items and dresses featured have been made according to artefacts and using traditional craftsmanship such as carved lacquerware, brass engraving, velvet silk accessories.
The halls of Yanzilou will open from 16 – 31 December 2021, with participants able to join in right from the comfort of their homes through a web browser. Find out more about Yanzilou: Forgotten Tales and get your tickets at Eventbrite — the Early Bird Discount will conclude on 30 November.