Director Stanley Kwan re-examines his familiar Shanghai through the lens of a performance academy where two troupes – one transported across time from the 1930s, the other very much of today – are forced to act as one to put on a contemporary show. Where one group emphasizes traditional skills and core competences, the other stresses performance and self-expression. Can the torch be successfully passed from one generation to the next? How can old and new remain in step with each other? While the story is told through performance and music, the city of Shanghai also has lessons for the youth of both eras.