Friday, June 25, 2010

Tea and a Show

By Jess Hodges

The day I find a teapot that doesn't drip all over the place will be marked on the calendar for my descendants to celebrate throughout the ages. It is a problem so persistent that I'm beginning to think it's actually down to my lack of skill and I should stop blaming the china. All in all the tea artists at the Shanghai 2010 world expo put me well and truly to shame.

Performing four 45 minute shows a day between May 1st and June 30th, the CHA stage show will incorporate martial arts, acrobatics and magic in it's telling of the story of Chinese tea culture. Award winning director Li Xining, who has worked with Cirque du Soleil, said she was inspired to write the show one day while she was having tea with friends.

“I was stunned by the magnificent and age-old tea culture in China and suddenly came up with the idea of presenting an acrobatic show to promote this traditional aspect of Chinese culture to a foreign audience.” (Quote taken from here.)

If I were to try an imagine a stage show retelling of the English tea story it probably wouldn't involve this kind of thing. You could probably get some worth while drama from depicting the East India trading company clashing with pirates on the high seas, but once the tea actually arrived the action would rather dry up, unless you dedicated a lot of time to posh people beating their servants.

Is now the time for a change? Should I be learning to pour two cups at once while doing back flips and drips be damned? Maybe I could contort myself into strange positions and learn to do the whole ceremony with my feet? Maybe I could learn not to scream like a two year old when I accidentally spill hot water on myself? Or maybe I'll just sit back in my comfy chair with a nice, safe mug of breakfast blend and let those energetic people in Shanghai show me how it's done.