The theme of war has always been an unfading favorite. Filled with killing and shouting, it is always men's masculinity that embodies war and blankets out female images. One wonders, what was the wartime role of woman? To answer this question, the playwright Shi Ru-fang pays attention to women in times of war. She draws on the metacognitive device similar to that used by Pirandello in his Six Characters in Search of an Author to recount stories of women whose destinies are entangled with war.
With an ongoing debate between the roles of"playwright" and "dan female impersonator," the lives of Yang Gui-fei, Li Xiang-lan, Helen of Tryo, Empress Lu, Ashi, Xun Shang-xiang, Mu Gui-ying, and Yang Jin-hus are examined. The play also incorporates Wang Hai-ling's story into its plot. Wang, at the age of 16, performed in Yang Jin-hua Assumes Commander-in-Chief. She was so successful that she single-handedly turned around the declining fate of Henan Bangzi Opera in Taiwan. In the plot line, Wang Hai-ling plays herself and looks back on her theater career.
The director of this play, Liu Shou-yao, comes from modern theater. He arranged this play to be a modern play that integrates opera elements. Therefore, he draws on various styles of performance arts, such as stage play, popular dance, dance hall music, puppetry, as well as traditional Henan Bangzi Opera sections. The arrangement binds together three thousand years of time and space, allowing the audience full appreciation of the unlimited potentiality of Henan Bangzi Opera actors/actresses.
|| Xiqu(Tradional Opera)
|| Henan Bangzi Opera
| Chinese Title
|| Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
|| Mandarin Chinese/English
|| The Metropolitan Hall, Taipei
| Image Source
|| NationalCenter for Traditional Arts、Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
| Other Works
|| Bond, The Sorceress Bride, The Widow's Peak, Grandauntie Liu