Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, stood in front of a Hankou shoe-shiner. “Nowadays, the rich wear leather shoes”, said the shoe-shiner. Jack Ma looked at the plain tennis shoes on his feet, smiling without a word.
It happened a year ago when Jack Ma boarded the ship from the dock, which was the maiden voyage of Zhiyin Hao Cruise.
My mom also boarded the ship, with a bag of multi-colored scarves, but she came back quite frustrated, asking me to buy her a few cheongsams and lamenting the uselessness of the scarves.
On-board the Zhiyin Cruise, what changes is not only your poses for a selfie, but also the pattern of watching performances. Walking in the scenes, you also play a role. The immersive way of watching a performance is unprecedented, making the audience forget their ordinary lives for a moment.
Zhiyin Cruise has become the best gift Wuhan citizens can present. In the past year, over 200,000 people have boarded the ship and it’s difficult to obtain a ticket-the best evidence that proves Zhiyin Cruise has become a new cultural landmark.
Among all the media, the editorial team of HANS boarded the ship.
We first visited the steel-framed structure that berthed the secret base of Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group and later the cabins restored at the ratio of 1:1 with deserted factory buildings in Hankou. The director Fan Yue repeatedly told us about the appeal of Zhiyin Hao that actually arises just after people disembark the ship.
“Stories are just beginning when the ship pulls in to shore.”
At first, I didn’t understand. I wasn’t suddenly enlightened until I heard those true stories and feedback from common passengers.
The crew of Zhiyin Hao once received a letter from a university student in Guangzhou.
After her good friend committed suicide, she became pessimistic, thinking that there was no need to meet new people since people would eventually be separated anyway. But when “Farewell” sounded after she boarded Zhiyin Cruise, each figure disappearing with flashbacks, she turned around, bursting into loud sobs.
Yes. Everyone has a past and a story, but the moments and people in stories won’t exist forever.
Old friends say goodbye and new ones meet each other, forming the circle of life.
Mr. Yi, who draws wall paintings on West Street of Hanyang, once enjoyed success and was also frustrated as one of the earliest graduates from Hubei Institute of Fine Arts.
Nowadays, he lives an ordinary life as an ordinary citizen. But after boarding, his past flashed before him…his first love with whom he watched the starry sky in an old van
When he was younger and went out at night, dressed well and walking by the Yangtze River. Mr. Yi, who boarded the ship clad in an outstanding attire, said,
“After reaching middle age, people warm themselves with memories. So I want to draw everyone and everything I remember. Past events won’t fade like a puff of smoke even if they’re only remembered by you”.
There are 108 performers on Zhiyin Cruise. For passengers, they are narrators, telling stories that happened 100 years ago. For themselves, they are listeners, encountering unknown scripts on a daily basis. Peng Wenjuan is one of the performers that cry most.
The roles she plays include a pregnant woman looking for her husband and a socialite, falling low. She needs to cry 12 times a night (at most), but she said that she never shed crocodiles’ tears. When she finished her lines, the old lady advised, with eyes suffused with tears,
“Take care. Look after yourself.” Her husband stood by the side, nodding eagerly.
At that moment, Peng Wenjun burst into tears.
“They must have suffered the same pain when then were young.
I seem to see myself in my old age, so I can’t help shedding tears.”
Tian Chang, a photographer working on the ship, witnesses the most crying faces there.
His job is to hold his camera and seize the moment to capture passengers who look at the camera.
The climax of crying appears when the ship pulls in to shore. With the whistle blowing, people on the wharf boat and those on the deck stare at each other, waving farewell.
At that moment, the softest memories of everyone are refreshed. As a romantic carrier, the ship creates a poetic space where listeners and narrators can switch roles at any time.
And the stories are just beginning when the passengers disembark the ship.
As requested, HANS has recorded stories and details on Zhiyin Cruise during the past year with videos. We’ve designed scenes, performers’ lines and even emotions, but it’s proved that any script loses to reality. Those unknown minor details and the most exquisite emotions are never under our control. In case of an encounter, we can only say “Nice to meet you” just as those performers on the ship do.
In its unique way, Zhiyin Cruise infuses special blood into the city and into people living there.
Nowadays, Zhiyin Cruise is doing more to collecting memories of the city.
For example, by reproducing “Heli Soda”, a classic drink made by Wuhan No. 2 Beverage Factory, and restoring People’s Paradise in the Chinese folk art era 100 years ago.
You can also customize a wedding, create a surprise or fulfill a wish on the ship.
What’s most moving about the ship is not that you can watch an immersive show but that you’ll be taken back 100 years in a mobile theater filled with memories of old Wuhan.
As locals living in Wuhan for dozens of years, we notice the completion of each skyscraper and recall the disappearance of each familiar corner. That’s always the case when a city is undergoing rapid development. Subways, high-rises and ring roads are visible changes to a city, but the remodeling of a city’s temperament is just hidden in those invisible cultural symbols.
With people singing and dancing in celebration of peace, the ship pulls in to shore.
Settling down and getting on their pursuit, people may meet each other again.
That’s Wuhan as it is.
编辑 = 方峥
图 = 宁波 + 黄大头 + 知音号供图
视频 = JULY + Miao Chao
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