City of Dreams to bring visual aquatic experience to Cotai

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Issue 616, Page 6
Word count: 813
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The dome shaped theatre in City of Dreams is going to bring locals and tourists not just a visual extravaganza, but also an ever-changing experience in an undersea world.

“Dragon’s Treasure” will be the first multi-media production that is to be presented in The Bubble, a dome shaped theatre with a space for 500 standing guests and one of the landmarks in Melco Crown’s flagship property which is set to open in the first half of this year on the Cotai Strip.

The 10-minute visual adventure tells the story of the Dragon Pearl and its mysterious powers as experienced by four Dragon Kings who are magically transported along with the audience on a sensory journey to each of their respective aquatic kingdoms of ice, tropics, volcanic and solar entities.

It has been created based on incorporating eastern philosophy and Chinese mythology.

The US entertainment group, Falcon’s Treehouse LLC, oversees all phases of the production from concept development to media production, and from lighting, sound to special effects design.

The 360 degree extravaganza is presented by employing high definition video content, a musical score, over 29,000 theatrical LED lights as well as a variety of in-theatre sensory effects and cinematic techniques.

President and Creative Director of the production house, Cecil D. Magpuri and Executive Vice President in Project Management, JuliAnn Blam, flew from New York to Macau where they shared  with local media yesterday about how their latest show was going to attract visitors worldwide.

According to JuliAnn, the production was designed especially to cater for Chinese communities.

“The idea of the start was something that was really meaningful in a deep way to the Chinese people. We kept integrating different elements that had special meanings such as the pearl, the dragons and the message of prosperity,” she said.

Cecil said Dragon’s Treasure gave an experience that was “not passive”, adding “it’s real in a sense that anywhere you look you’re going to engage and embrace the content in every direction”.

The Bubble stands 20 metres high and 36 metres long. Without having any seats for audience, there are handrails for people to hang on to while descending into the watery depths to the undersea world of the jade palace.

“Even though you’re not moving you’re going to feel like you’re moving [by hanging on to the handrails],” JuliAnn said.

“You’re not only watching the film, but you’ll have factual physical effects that enhance the film and enhance your experience,” she added.

Meanwhile, Cecil referred to the production as an “illusion” that the crew had been creating.

“The experience is you are going to get a sense of the screen turning into a marble or a glass bubble that allows you to see beyond and immerse in the ocean,” he said.

Despite the show time last for just about 10 minutes, before audiences go into the theatre a pre-show will be presented in order to first set up the idea of what they’re going to begin with.

” Your journey starts before the main experience in which each of the four dragons will show you their magical worlds,” Cecil said.

When asked what the idea was behind for having no seats inside the theatre but requiring guests to stand up, JuliAnn said it was a “physical thing”.

“There are so many stories around you and when you’re sitting on a seat, you’re limited and you’re facing forward. We want our story to be something that you will turn around to see,” she added.

From that Cecil also talked about the interesting part in creating a 360 degree projection design.

“What was challenging and inspiring at the same time was how you could tell a story that might happen behind you versus in front of you,” the creative director said, “normally everything happens on stage and you watch it and then you get the whole picture”.

“The dynamic of not having redundancy in the story line but still be unique and compelling was challenging but also inspiring as it allowed us to adopt this medium and content and be creative,” he added.

JuliAnn agreed. She pointed out that the dome shape venue also influenced the sound design, although the whole story is told without any dialogues.

“If you got the story happening here in one minute and it’s happening there in the next minute, you got to make sure that the sound travels,” she said.

Having spent about two and a half years on the entire production, both Cecil and JuliAnn said they hoped Dragon’s Treasure could be at The Bubble “forever”.

“The experience is not one-off, it changes every time depending on the position and location where you’re standing at,” Cecil added.

A project of such large scale, the two production team members declined to disclose how much they had invested in the show.

“[It’s a] commercial secret. We can’t tell you,” JuliAnn laughed.

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