The plot of this play derives from chapter 6, 39, and 113 of the work of classical fiction Dream of the Red Chamber. Grandauntie Liu is a resourceful and humorous old woman. Thrice when she visits the Jia Mansion, the audience witnesses through her eyes the vicissitudes of the Jia clan. Liu Hui-fen, who adapted the story for the stage, said the character Grandauntie Liu has been depicted more or less unfavorably in previous opera productions. It is her intent to give Grandauntie Liu a new image. Underneath the many humorous lines and jokes, Grandauntie Liu reveals herself to be an optimistic, righteous, tough and brave woman.
The director, Lu Bo-shen, stressed that the production of traditional opera centers on its actors. He tried to diminish the director's doing as much as possible and gave more creative space to the performers. A glass screen is placedin the center of the stage to divide the flow of time and space. The image of the mirror is a metaphor of the Jia clan's ephemeral prosperity. The nearly empty stage provides ample room for the actors to excelin their performances.
The protagonist Grandauntie Liu is performed by the company's leading actress, Wang Hai-ling. She deftly integrates the hilarious acting of a comedian into the witty, naughty nature of the huadan role. In some of the scenes, such as when she urges her son-in-law to stand up for the family, or when she sells her lands in order to ransom Qiaojie, and when she is entrusted with Qiaojie's future, her singing brings her virtuosity to full play. Xiao Yang-ling, who plays Wang Xi-feng, also excels in her interpretation of the character. Both the master and disciple mesmerize the audience with their sonorous singing, which is savored with great pleasure.
|| Xiqu(Tradional Opera)
|| Henan Bangzi Opera
| Chinese Title
|| Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
|| Mandarin Chinese/English
|| Chiang Kai-shek Cultural Center, Kaoshiung
| Image Source
|| NationalCenter for Traditional Arts、Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
| Other Works
|| Bond, The Sorceress Bride, Women Are Renamed, The Widow's Peak