Advertisement graphic courtesy of Shen Yun
Written by Robert Voss
Everyone could not wait to see the anticipated showing of the 2018 Shen Yun at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando or better known as DPAC. I had a chance to see it first hand for myself on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at 7:30pm. It was their first opening show in Orlando. This is one show one should not miss.
When I arrived in Downtown Orlando I was looking for the closest parking garage near DPAC. I found the City of Orlando Administration Parking Garage just a block off from DPAC. It cost only $10 to park for the night. There are other parking lots and parking garages charging $7-$10. Next, I walked over to DPAC. Then I found a fenced off area of construction on the North side of DPAC property. This forced me to walked around it. The entrance to DPAC is located on the West side of the building.
Once arriving at DPAC, everyone must go through metal detectors. Security asked to take everything out of my pockets and to place all my personal possessions in my hand along with placing it over my head going through the metal detector. If anything sets off the metal detector one will be wanded and or even pat down for this security process. Then a ticket taker scanned my ticket for entry into the Lobby. Next, I waited in the Lobby of DPAC while other guests were gathering. While waiting I asked some very friendly ushers a few questions. Plus, there was a souvenir stand set-up in the Lobby with different merchandise from Shen Yun. Prices range from $30-$200 depending on the item. They had jewelry to silk scarfs on display.
The doors to the Walt Disney Theater open 30 minutes before the show starts. My ticket was for Tier 3, Row YY, and Seat 110. It was located in the back of the house near the soundboard right in the center. The seat was very comfortable. One could see the whole entire stage. However, I could not see the performers faces clearly because I was far away. Towards the opening of the show it looked like a packed house. Before the introductions, the theater reminded all guests that photography and video were not permitted throughout the show. Plus, the show is copy righted by Shen Yun.
When the house lights went black and the curtains open with the Chinese characters started dancing to the music. There were about thirty-three characters on stage at one time in traditional Chinese costumes. These characters do not talk on stage at all, but act to the sound of music. Certain parts are more dramatic than others. There were also two co-hosts who would introduce each separate scene. Both spoke English and Mandarin on the stage. Here are just a few scenes from Shen Yun which are “From Heaven to Save All,” Han Dynasty Sleeves, “ “The Hmong Ethnic Dance – In the Mountains,” and much more.
There was a live orchestra playing in sunken area in front of the stage. Shen Yun had a full Orchestra composed with brass, woodwinds, strings, erhu, and pipa music instruments. Overall, the Shen Yen Orchestra sounded great. The only view of the orchestra was the tops of the musicians’ heads along with a few large music instruments. Their music is all-original and was written for this year’s performance.
The highlights of the first act were the scenes in the “Buffoonery in the Schoolyard” where a male performer ripped his pants. The audience laughed when that happened. Then the character ran around the stage to cover his rear-end. Another highlight was from the scene “Unprecedented Crime” where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hound a couple because of the guiding text from Falun Dafa. Later the male character was taken to jail and was beaten by CCP. Then a doctor came in to check on him and then the curtains closed. It was one of the dramatic scenes within the performance of the night.
I was amazed of the background digital screen with the projected animation of scenery and characters. There was a row of steps going from one side to the other that the characters used to go out of some scenes. There is a patent on this integrated digital background system by Shen Yun’s Artistic Director D.F.. This was my first time seeing anything like this and expect to see more of this digital background in the future performances.
During the show, some guests were standing at the wrong time trying to find their seat. I might have missed some of the scene by their action. It is always recommended to get there early to find your seat before a show starts. Also, a few people were talking softly among themselves. Another thing the audience should reframe from is kicking the back of another audience seat. It is highly suggested to read the theater audience guidelines before attending a show. If a guest has a problem or question please see an usher to get it resolved.
Overall, I thought the show was good. I only stayed for the first half of the show to get an overview of this show. If someone has never seen this show before I highly recommend seeing it. The average crowd age at this show was between the ages of 50-70 years old. If you missed your opportunity to see it this year than one then you’ll have to wait till next year in Spring 2019. Look for advertisement of next year’s Shen Yun Show in the fall of late 2018.
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