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Acrobatics Show Journey to the West



The opening chapter depicts Buddha who turns his hand into a mountain and the rebellious Monkey is held down. This setting is a large “Buddha’s hand” with “bungee cords” installed with the actor playing Monkey performing acrobatics on the bungee cords and however hard he tries, Monkey cannot escape from the palm of the Buddha's hand.

In the chapter of Havoc in Heaven, the hero Monkey goes to heaven for rebelling against the Jade Emperor, a legendary emperor in the heaven in Chinese fables and more acrobatic feats and kungfu entail. For instance, many performers clime up to several tall polls and simultaneously perform breathtaking stunts. In the scene of “little monkeys” fighting with the army from the heaven, martial arts, sword dancing, and stick dancing are used, presenting a marvelous stage effect.

Three Fights against the White Demon tells the story of how Monkey sees through the various disguises of White Demon, who wants to achieve immortality by eating Xuanzang’s flesh, and kills her on each occasion. Xuanzang, however, believing White Demon is a real human being, is horrified by Monkey's display of violence and punishes him by murmuring magic words. The Buddha placed a magic band onto Monkey’s head and it gives Xuanzang the power to control over Monkey. All he needs to do is to murmur some magic words and Monkey will suffer a terrible headache. The whole process is represented by 'Diabolo Juggling': the whirring sound is like the chanting of the magic words, and the throwing and juggling of the diabolo suggests the dizzy, topsy-turvy state that Monkey is in.


In the chapter of The Kingdom of Women - The Cave of Silken Web, “Hand-To-Hand Balancing” between two performers against a romantic backdrop of a starry sky is used to show Xuanzang’s spiritual and physical struggle when he is caught by the Empress of the Kingdom of Women. “Hanging on a Silk Strap” is used to demonstrate the feeling of Xuanzang when he is struggling to break free from the Spider Demon's strap that hangs him in mid-air.

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