This play was adapted jointly by the authoritative Shakespearean scholar, Perng Ching-hsi, and the Chinese opera scholar, Chen Fang, from the Shakespearean play The Merchant of Venice. Recognizing the necessity of honoring the original work and its spirit, the adaptation follows the aesthetics of traditional opera. The plot centers around three bonds: MurongTian's father's will that demands his daughter's choice of groom be determined by choosing the right cage, the betrothal vow between the newly-weds, Ba Wuji and MurongTian, and the "1kg of flesh" contract signed by the Persian merchant Shylock and the Mandarin gentleman Master An. The bonds interconnect human conflicts between love and friendship, honesty and deception.
The leading actor and actress, Liu Jian-hua and Xiao Yang-ling, each give wonderful performance in their respective roles. The director, Lu Bo-shen, with his sharp, discerning eyes, bowed to the convention of western Shakespearean productions to recruit the accomplished actor to star in the role of Shylock, boldly invited Wang Hai-ling, trained to be a hua-dan (young and vibrant female characters), to take on the role. Wang Hai-ling sings in the lao-sheng(old male characters) style, integrating the free-swinging posture of hua-lian (male characters with painted faces) and the comical performance of chou(comic characters), turning Shylock into the most notable character of the entire play. The director also transforms the abacus wielded by Shylock into an important prop. It is used to bring about the image of a penny-pinching merchant, and to exhibit the opera performers' professional expertise, greatly enhancing the artistry of this play.
|| Xiqu(Tradional Opera)
|| Henan Bangzi Opera
| Chinese Title
|| 約 / 束
|| Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
|| Mandarin Chinese/English
|| The Metropolitan Hall, Taipei
| Image Source
|| NationalCenter for Traditional Arts、Public Television Service Taiwan、Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
| Other Works
|| The Sorceress Bride, Women Are Renamed, Women Are Renamed, The Widow's Peak, Grandauntie Liu