Micro Message, a musical about Cross-Straits collaboration
In order to implement China’s policy on cross-Straits cultural exchanges and explore innovative models for cultural cooperation between the two sides following the 2015 historic meeting between Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, the top leaders of the two sides, the Xiamen Banlam Grand Theater Management Co, the CPAA Entertainment Shanghai Co and the Taiwan-based All Music Theatre jointly funded and produced Micro Message, a musical with a contemporary cross-Strait theme.
The project began in the first half of 2015, and received strong support and close attention from the leaders of the China Arts and Entertainment Group, the CPAA Theatres Ltd, and Xiamen’s municipal Party committee’s publicity department, municipal bureau of culture, radio, film, television, press and publications, and Taiwan affairs office, all of which placed high hopes on this original musical about human connections across the Taiwan Straits.
Three performances of the musical were staged at the Banlam Grand Theater in Xiamen from January 23 to 25, 2016, while two other shows were given at the Daning Theater in Shanghai from February 18 to 19, all receiving positive responses. After improvements were made based on audience and market feedback, the 2.0 edition of the musical debuted at the Wellspring Theater in Taipei, with a total of 12 consecutive performances that attracted visitors from the ages of 20 to 40. Aiming to stage the 3.0 edition in theaters across the country from the end of 2016 through 2017, the production team continued to improve the musical after its successful launch.
The musical’s success marked a new step for in-depth cooperation in the field of original musicals between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan. The theme, story, music and choreography were all youth-oriented, and highlighted technology, fashion and issues likely to interest the young people of both sides in the hopes of closing the distance between them and encouraging them to contribute to cross-Straits peace and development.
The musical was also a successful case of in-depth cooperation between the performing arts industries across the Straits in the new age as it was jointly produced, focused on a cross-Straits theme, interpreted by artists from both sides, and subject to a shared copyright .
The musical reflects young people’s attitudes toward emotions under new social circumstances across the Straits. The musical centers on a love story between Liang Yongxin, a young man in Taiwan, and Chinese mainland woman Fang Wei. It also shows people’s reliance on the internet, pursuing their ideals and transforming their roles in the cyber world depending on their ages. Woven by the music, a light-hearted internet-age pattern is made, depicting the largely ignored spiritual needs of today’s tech- and net-enabled youth. People from both sides of the Straits perhaps recognize themselves are feel their sympathy aroused. In a sense, it is not just a romantic story; it explores the relations between the two sides as one big family and their identification with each other against the backdrop of an increasingly technical age.