It's really the coolest place to be during these hot, hot days

By Zhangkun In Shanghai (China Daily)

Updated: 2015-08-12

This could be the perfect pastime in the hottest days of the year: to watch Ice Age Live in Shanghai and four other cities in China.

Organizers say that adventures of the extinct hairy elephant and his prehistoric animal friends on ice is one of the largest, most expensive theater shows on ice. It will have 16 performances through Aug 16 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, before traveling to Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dalian and Beijing.

Children and adults in the audience will marvel as the 4-meter-high Mammoth Manny and Ellie make their steps on the thin ice. In one scene a Mammoth flying over their head will no doubt be a spectacular sight.

A total of 52 shows are scheduled for the first China tour of Ice Age Live, jointly created by Stage Entertainment Touring Productions and 20th Century Fox.

This is a live theater show of the Ice Age franchise that started from the 2002 animation film by a division of 20th Century Fox. The series follows the story of a group of mammals through their survival in the Paleolithic ice age.

Four films have been released: Ice Age (2002), Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) and Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012). The fifth installment, Ice Age: Collision Course, is expected to be released next year.

The theater show features characters from the movie series not as puppets, but real life artists. The big fat chilly show is a combination of figure skating, acrobatics, kung fu fighting and musical theater.

Ice Age Live premiered at Wembley Arena in London in 2012, and has been touring Europe and South America ever since. There are plans for it to visit more than 30 countries in five years.

"It is a big production that costs more than $10 million," says Yang Haoyu, a senior manager of Freegos Int'l Media, which has joined China Broadway Entertainment to bring the show to the Chinese mainland.

More than 40 artists, including a few Chinese, will mount the stage during the 100-minute show. They have come from a broad variety of disciplines.

"Among us are gymnasts, acrobats, martial arts practitioners and French parkour artists as well," says Lechay Bekerman from Israel, who is the tour manager.

Chai Ertao, 23, is one of the Chinese actors whose expertise is in kung fu.

Three years ago the production team flew to Beijing for the audition and handpicked Chai and Yang Yongte, 25, to be in the show.

"We can't skate," Chai says. "But we'll perform kung fu on a moving platform."

There will be spikes on the bottom of their shoes to help them hold tight and fight properly on the slippery surface of the ice.

The platform will be remote controlled through computer programming. It takes the latest technology to ensure a platform moves around accurately, and which is large and firm enough for a handful of actors to perform their stunts.

It was the Canadian composer and music producer Martin Lord Ferguson who came upon the original idea of creating a live show on ice about the Ice Age. The creative director is Guy Caron, the first artistic director of the internationally acclaimed Cirque du Soleil in Canada, and founder of Montreal's National Circus School.

The co-director working with Caron is Michael Curry, an internationally recognized master of puppetry and kinetic theatrical design. In his 25-year career he has worked for the Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios and the 2012 London Olympic Games.

 It's really the coolest place to be during these hot, hot days

The live theater show Ice Age Live tours Chinese cities with 52 shows.Provided To China Daily

It's really the coolest place to be during these hot, hot days

(China Daily 08/12/2015 page18)

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