Hay everywhere, a dog running around off his leash, a few other tiny creatures roaming the studio. This on-set atmosphere brought out Zheng Yunlong's unreserved, childish side for our photoshoot.
In his own words, "I am a very curious person. I am very curious about the style you want to shoot and the main purpose of the video. If it is something I have not tried before, I am very interested." In front of the camera, he occasionally makes funny faces, picking up a stalk of hay and putting it over his mouth, suggesting that beneath it all, he is a child at heart.
For children, curiosity is a natural and dominant trait. For Zheng Yunlong, curiosity is still the most important part of his personality. As he believes, "The most important thing in our industry is to be curious at all times. You need to observe every little thing that happens around you, and observe everyone you meet."
As we grow older, we seem to gradually approach our curiosities with calmness, and sometimes even indifference. We suppress our desire to explore, as restraint is recognised as a sign of maturity. Although Zheng Yunlong is generally viewed as quiet and sensible by the public, in his private world, he breaks through the heavy constraints and gets a glimpse of the sky.
All his emotions are on full display on the stage. When he leaves the stage, however, his emotions become subdued once again, and he regains a cool, collected composure. While he may not always share his thoughts with the world, he always has something to say about musicals. In our interview, we found that he can be both serious and childish, quiet and personable — seemingly contradictory traits that enable us to get to know the real Zheng Yunlong.
Over the past few months, Zheng Yunlong has been taking the time to rest at home. As with most other sectors, the theatre industry had to suddenly press pause on everything going on. Performances that were planned for later this year had to be rescheduled and reconsidered.
When asked if he felt any panic about where the theatre industry might be headed, Zheng shrugged and said, "Although many things that were originally made cannot be done at this point in time, it is better to take this opportunity to settle down. This is a rare time for me. I can study with peace of mind and see more things, which will also help me in the future."
Zheng Yunlong doesn't post many selfies to his Weibo, a popular social media platform in China, but he does share which musicals he has recently watched. Without much description to his posts, his fans are still able to appreciate the art that he shares with them.
Zheng prefers to redirect the attention he gets from fans back to the artistry of musicals and dramas. We were able to understand this better when he shared his perspective on it. His original aspiration was to break into the world of musicals, and he has gotten here through his persistence. Acting in a musical is not just a job to him, but also a responsibility. Every role is fresh, full of life and meaning for him.
With regards to the future, Zheng Yunlong doesn't have it all figured out yet. "I hope that the future will get better and better, where I can try more and more things, and set higher and higher standards for myself, and where many previous problems will be solved."
Zheng explains that he can't give a very clear answer because he's still curious about his future. "Why set too many limits for yourself? Curiosity is the excitement of exploring the unknown, and the future provides infinite unknowns. While the future is an ongoing entity, we can only hope that everything develops in a positive direction."
Despite a few possible branches in the road ahead, Zheng hopes to remain his authentic self. "I only hope that I can still keep my innocence when I get older. Not just 10 years later. I hope that when I'm 60, 70, or 80 years old, I will still be curious."
Executive Producer Adam Feng
Producer Sami Zhang
Artist Coordinator Landy Sun
Photography Li Anqi
Hair & Makeup Zhaikejia
Layout Design Channing Zhang