PITTSBURGH—Actor Anthony Daniels, most well known for playing the walking, talking golden robot
C-3PO in the Star Wars films, said Shen Yun Performing Arts was a moving experience.
“This show demonstrates the deep, deep, deep artistic soul of China,” Mr. Daniels said after watching the performance at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Feb. 2.
Mr. Daniels memorably had the first line in first Star Wars and the last line in the last Star Wars, according to his profile on IMDB. With the latest announcement about a new Star Wars film, he may be back as C-3PO; he has voiced the character in multiple television series based on the films, and has in the last year narrated the television mini-series Dirigible Days.
New York-based Shen Yun traverses the globe purveying the 5,000-year-old, divinely-inspired Chinese culture, according to its website.
“A Shen Yun performance features the world’s foremost classically trained dancers, a unique orchestra blending the sounds of both East and West, breathtaking backdrops, splendid costumes, singers—together creating an experience that’s leaving millions in awe,” the website states.
Mr. Daniels was delighted by the performance. He said the dancing was wonderful, and was fascinated with the juxtaposition of the live action on stage and characters on the digital backdrop.
He also found the orchestra—which melds Western classical instruments with traditional Chinese instruments—”very plangent, very soulful; the sort of sound you don’t hear in the West.”
Shen Yun tours to more than 100 cities and 20 countries each year, presenting an all new performance. Yet because of the decimation of traditional Chinese culture in China over the last 60-plus years by the ruling communist regime, Shen Yun formed overseas, is based in New York, and cannot currently travel to China.
Mr. Daniels saw a deep love for the culture from the performers.
“The overwhelming thing I got from this show today was that every member of the cast and orchestra were proud to be Chinese and proud of their heritage,” he said.
At the same time, he didn’t like that the traditional culture cannot be shown in China. It is cultural elements like Shen Yun that help different countries and people understand and get to know each other, he said.
“It is through art that I think political changes are made, and this could be an important show,” he added. “I think you’ve left people today feeling thrilled and instructed in a gentle way.”
“I am very touched by what I have seen today,” said Mr. Daniels. “I like the Chinese people more for having been here today.”
Reporting by Pamela Tsai and Zachary Stieber
Shen Yun Performing Arts International Company will perform in Pittsburg until Feb. 3. Shen Yun Performing Arts, based in New York, tours the world on a mission to revive traditional Chinese culture. For more information, visit ShenYunPerformingArts.org
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