This play is the second one based on a local Taiwanese story, following Biography of Master Cao in 2003. The script is adapted by Liu Hui-fen from Wang Qiong-ling's novel, The Widow's Peak. *It tells the story of Axian from Meizikeng whose hairline on her forehead forms a beauty's peak. It is said that a woman with a beauty's peak is destined to help her future husband's family prosper. While everyone in her village raves about her beauty's peak, when she marries into the Li family a few hills away, the people there consider it a bad omen that will bring ill fortune to the Li family. The irony of destiny drives Axian through a painful, bumpy life which she embraces head-on with brave determination.
This play is directed by the world-renowned film director, Lin Zheng-sheng, who has won top awards from major film festivals, including the Berlin, Cannes, and Tokyo Film Festivals. Lin uses his highly skilled techniques in presenting imagery, interspersing clips of film performed by the actor and actress themselves throughout the play. He also uses a multiple-layered image projection as an extension of the stage settings, creating an effect of blending reality and fictiveness. The original author, Wang Qiong-ling, said at the early stage of her writing that she intuitively deemed Wang Hai-ling, Queen of the Henan Bangzi Opera, as the most suitable artist to play the ever-courageous, unbreakable Axian. Chu Hai shan, originally trained for a sheng(old and young male characters), is cross-casted as a dan(old and young female characters) and plays opposite Wang Hai-ling as Axian's mother-in-law. The pair put on a spectacular rival show. Their resounding Henan Bangzi Opera style singing most appropriately renders the rustic and strong emotions of the characters.
*The spot called "widow's peak" in English is referred to as "beauty's peak" in mandarin Chinese.
Henan Bangzi Opera
Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
The Metropolitan Hall, Taipei
NationalCenter for Traditional Arts、Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company
The preparatory work of NCFTA commenced in 1996. In January 2002, the complex reached a completion and the center began to execute its designated missions on cultivating talents in traditional arts and conducting the investigation, research, conservation, transmission and development of traditional arts. There are four subordinate units under its authority, including GuoGuang Opera Company, Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company, National Chinese Orchestra Taiwan and Taiwan Music Institute; it also oversees three on-site fields: Yilan Park, Taiwan Traditional Theatre Center, Kaohsiung Park.
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