Friday, April 23, 2021

ECA2 Creates World’s First Waterfall Theatre Celebrating Natural Magic of Wuyishan

InPark will be covering the April 10 opening of Fountain of Dreams.   Look for our report in Issue 57 this May.

Saint Denis, France — In the town of Wuyishan, at the heart of north-west Fujian’s tranquil tea-growing mountains, something very special is happening.  Already identified as a world heritage site by UNESCO, the region is playing host to “The Fountain of Dreams”, a “spectacular and enchanting tribute” to Wuyishan’s privileged natural setting, using never-before seen techniques to create an unforgettable immersive experience.

At the core of “The Fountain of Dreams” is the simple beauty and power of nature: its generous waters which sculpted the region’s emblematic mountains, and the nine twists and turns of its famous river.  The Wuyishan government chose the French show production company ECA2 for its ability to deliver a complementary turnkey show, rich in exciting light & sound and ground-breaking effects.

Every aspect has been painstakingly developed by ECA2, from show concept and theatrical decor to design of the seating stands, to create a truly remarkable signature show for Wuyishan.  In particular, the waterfall-theatre feature is a world first, designed to bring the spectator inside the action. The monumental waterfall dramatically comes to life, changing form in unexpected ways. The waterfall closely mimics the neighbouring mountains. Terraces in the decor echo the region’s still active teagrowing terraces. Through 12 compelling scenes, the story unfolds of Wuyishan’s fabled waters.

Water curtains are all around, transforming into free-flowing rivers. Flashes, flames, 3D video mapping, LED, lasers, cascading waters, music and ghostly characters from China’s traditional past all interact.  The stage, seating, a pond and even the roof become one unified staging area. Many effects come from amongst the spectators, so the feeling of being “part of the show” or even “part of the scenery” is not just their imagination! 17 metre high showers fall into rivers between the seating.

WUY_J2-1 2 - copyright

Much of the multimedia magic is thanks to special effects gadgetry concealed within the roof. And what a roof! With its contemporary cantilever design, it seems to float weightlessly. The video mapping posed particularly tricky problems. With images projected onto the irregular 3D shapes of the set, multiple scans had to be made to achieve seamless imagery. One of the biggest surprises comes when a mountain turns into a seated man, an essential character in the story. Other challenges included: 10,000 cubic metres per hour of water perfectly controlled to protect technical equipment; world’s biggest water screen ever, an incredible 30 metres; fireworks that launch from a water-drenched set.


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