In Conjunction with the exhibition Return of the Buddha in the Freer and Sackler Galleries

  presents Drama in the Temple
Friday May 14 to Sunday May 16, 2004

 Freer and Sackler Galleries of Art  Jefferson Drive at 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. Metro Station: Smithsonian (Mall exit)
Friday, May 14, 12:00 Longing for Worldly Pleasures (Si Fan)
Saturday, May 15, 11:00  
Saturday, May 15 11:00 and 2:00 Storytelling
A Lawsuit to Heaven (Yang Gao)
Sunday, May 16, 3:00 Storytelling
Hiding in the Boat (Cang Zhou) from Joy of Fishermen
A Lawsuit to Heaven (Yang Gao)

Jointly Sponsored by The Wintergreen Kunqu Society, The Freer and Sackler Galleries, and The Smithsonian Associates.

Cast and Musicians

Friday 12:00  and Saturday 11:00

Orchestra

Longing for Worldly Pleasures

 

Kunqu Flute  (Dizi):

Chen Tao
Sekong: Liang Guyin  

Drum and Clappers:

Jia Qing Lin
     

San Xian:

Wang Linsong

 Saturday 2:00  

 

Lawsuit to Heaven

 

Kunqu Flute  (Dizi):

Chen Tao
Story Teller: Linda Fang  

Drum and Clappers:

Jia Qing Lin
Jiao Guiying: Liang Guyin  

San Xian:

Wang Linsong

Sunday 3:00

 

Lawsuit to Heaven

 

Kunqu Flute  (Dizi):

Zhou Ming
Story Teller: Linda Fang  

Drum and Clappers:

Huang Shirong
Jiao Guiying: Liang Guyin  

Erhu:

Quo Jingqiang

Joy of Fisherman

 

Banhu:

Xia Wen Jei
Story Teller: Linda Fang  

San Xian/Big Gong:

Wang Linsong
Sunset: Liang Guyin   Small Gong: Huang Chenlin
All-Spice Liu: Wen Yuhang   Cymbols: Jia Qing Lin

Production Staff

  Producer: Tong-Ching Chang  
  Stage Manager: Yaun Yuchen  
  General Manager: Tak Kin Chu  
  Makeup/Dresser: Yang Guiyin  
   Libretto Translation*: Tak Kin Chu and Charles Wilson
  Video Recording: Charles Wilson  

The Wintergreen Kunqu Society would like to thank Professor Timothy Scott for permission to use The English translation of "Longing for Worldly Pleasures" from Traditional Chinese Plays, Volume 2, 1969.

Synopsis and Program Notes

Longing for Worldly Pleasures (Si Fan).
The performing origin of the play is unknown. It is believed to have been first staged in the Ming dynasty (1368-1643 AD). It is based on a theme from Records of an Evil Sea (Nieh Hai Ji), the title of which is a Buddhist metaphor for a life of sorrow, and storyteller's adaptation of early Buddhist source material. As traditional Kunqu theater on a Buddhist theme, "Si Fan" marks a social protest to Chinese tradition, but in a lighthearted way.

"Si Fan" is regarded as a connoisseur's piece whose refined, expressive fusion of song, dance, and gesture embodied the less robust but more romantic qualities of traditional classical art. It is regularly performed on the stages of both Beijing opera and Kunqu theater. The story is about a young woman, Sekong, who was dedicated by her parents to a Buddhist temple in her childhood. Being a num not by choice, Sekong decides to escape from the temple to pursue a normal family life.

A Lawsuit to Heaven (Yang Gao)
"A lawsuit to heaven" is a scene from the play Incense Burning (Fen Xiang Ji), a story about a scholar, Wang Kwei, who abandons his wife, Jiao Guiyin, who had rescued and supported him during hardship. Since the 16-17th centuries of the late Ming dynasty, this has been one of the most frequently performed Northern style Kunqu plays. Audiences were moved to feel the pain of the heroine as she tells the story of her unfaithful husband.The performance features elegant dance and water-sleeve movements.

Jiao Guiyin, a young courtesan, rescues a poor young scholar, Wang Kwei, on a snowy day. The two fall in love and later exchange marriage vows in a temple. Two years later, Wang Kwei goes to the capital to take the imperial examinations. After winning top honors for a court appointment, he accepts the prime minister's invitation to marry his daughter. He then writes a letter to Jiao Guiyin, sending money for a divorce. Jiao Guiyin is devastated. In the scene "A Lawsuit to Heaven" performed here, Jiao Guiyin returns to the temple where they exchanged their vows. She appeals for justice from the gods, but receives no reply. Seeing no alternative to support herself but to return to the brothel and be abused by the brothel owner, she hangs herself in the temple.


Joys of the Fisherman
This story takes place at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (126-144 AD). Councilor Liang Yi, the brother of the Dowager Empress, has murdered the eleven year-old young emperor, and is planning to usurp the throne. When he learns that Prince Liu, heir to the throne, has fled the palace, he orders his troops to capture the prince. In pursuit of the prince, the troops accidentally shoot fisherman Wu instead of the prince.

The scene begins when Sunset, Fisherman Wu’s daughter, returns to her boat after burying her father. She is shocked to find a young man hiding inside. During their dialogue, she learns that he is Prince Liu and that her father has died in his place. Full of grief and anger, she vows to seek revenge on Councilor Liang. She offers to help the prince in his escape, and the two agree to act as husband and wife – in name only. The prince is moved by her generosity and vows to name her the empress should he reclaim the throne and become the emperor.
 

Meet the Artists

Liang Guyin is the winner of Third Chinese Drama Plum Blossom Prize and Leading Role Prize of First Shanghai Magnolia Drama Prize. She was  mainly acts Hua Dan (the young and lovely women). A member of the first graduating class of the Shanghai Traditional Opera School, she has studied with such renowned artists as Zhang Chuan-fang and  Shen Chuan-zhi. With a sweet voice and exquisite skill as a character actress, she specializes in  the Hua Dan (the young and lovely woman) role, portraying a wide range of characters. Ms. Liang performed the leading role in Pan Chinlien, which won Excellent Achievement Prize of '89 Shanghai Cultural Festival and won Second Prize of National Drama Telefilm Prize. Her "To Be Arrested" won Performance Prize of 3rd Shanghai Drama Festival. She has well performed in many plays including New Butterfly Dream, The Rotten-Helve Mountain, Borrowing Tea, Perfect Time. Ms. Liang also performs Beijing Opera and is a member of Chinese Dramatists Society and director of Shanghai Dramatists Society.

Wen Yuhang studied at the Beijing Traditional Opera school for six years with some of the most famous actors and teachers at the school, specializing in the Xiao Sheng (young scholar) role. Since graduating, he has been the principal actor in the Northern Kunju Opera Company, performing in The Tale of Two People, The Dream of Red Chamber, Qin Wen, and The Legend of the White Snake. He was the featured principal in more than twenty productions, performing throughout China, Japan, Russia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Mr. Wen was named Best Performer at the Beijing Youth Competition in 1994 and received three second-place awards as best performer at the Beijing Youth Actors Competition in 1988, 1993 and 1998. In 1999, he was honored has won the best artist for the twenty first century in Beijing.

Linda Fang began telling stories at the age of ten, winning several storytelling competitions before becoming a professional story teller. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, the National Theatre, and the Roundhouse Theater in addition to several museums, festivals, and TV stations. Her awards include the 1998 Storyteller of the Year, 1996 Tellable Tale Award, and the 2000 Parents' Choice Award. Ms. Fang's captivating storytelling styles is seen in her unusual ability to engage her audiences at various levels-in listening, providing sound effects, and sometimes, in children shows, helping to act out a part of a the story. Ancient Chinese costumes, props, songs and folk music, give authentic flavors to her presentations. Characters spring to life with her different voices, expressions and gestures. [Linda Fang Website]

Chen Tao is the founder and director of the Melody of Dragon, the artistic director and conductor of the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York. He is not only a specialist on the flute, xiao and xun, but he is also a virtuoso performer on other wind instruments such as the bawu, koudi, chiba and other folk wind instruments.  In 1989 he entered the National Folk Instrument competition and won first place.  On several occasions he represented various groups of Chinese musicians, including the Chinese Buddhist Musicians Ensemble, and visited the US, Germany, Italy, France, England, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao.  During a trip to England he collaborated with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and The Orchestra National de Lyon on the performances that won high praise. His playing can be heard on several soundtracks of Hollywood movies including Seven Years in Tibet, Corrupter (with the New York Philharmonic) and on the PBS documentary Under the Red Flag. In the US, The New York Times called him a "poet in music" and his playing "a miracle of the oriental flute." While on tour in Germany the maestro Herbert von Karajan praises him as an artist who "performed with his soul."

Zhou Ming is a master of the dizi, the Chinese bamboo flute. A graduate of the Shanghai Academy of Traditional Chinese Theater, he received a BA degree in Dizi from Shanghai Conservatory of Music in 1989.  Mr. Zhou has performed as the lead musician for over twenty-five major Kunqu plays for the Shanghai Kunqu Troupe and has been a guest conductor of ensembles in Japan and Taiwan.  He held the title First-rate Musician from the official ranking system in China. In 1999, he performed in Lincoln Center Festival's "The Peony Pavilion" directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, where he served as the music director and lead musician. He also toured with the production to festivals in Paris, Milan, Aarhus, Perth, Berlin, Vienna, and Singapore. 

Huang Shirong is a graduate of the Shanghai Chinese Drama School. Mr. Huang served as the conductor of the Shanghai Beijing Opera Troupe for over 30 years. Several of the productions he conducted as lead drummer won national awards in China. 

Jia Qing Lin is a graduate of Shenyang Opera Academy. Mr. Jia specialized in Chinese percussion and was a member of Shenyang Beijing Opera Company. He has won various performance awards at both the national and state levels in China for accompanying traditional Chinese opera. During 1990's, he was invited to perform in Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and United States.

Wang Linsong is a master of several popular string instruments. He was a resident musician and taught San-hsian in Shanghai Yueju Company.  Mr. Wang  is a member of Ensemble of the Peony Pavilion, which performed at the 1999 Lincoln Center Festival and later in Australia, France, and Italy.

Huang Chenlin is proficient not only in all major wen-chen (wind and string) instruments but also several wu-chen (percussion) instruments. Mr. Huang is a popular musician in both Kunqu Theater and Beijing Opera. As a member of  Chinese traditional music orchestra of The Peony Pavilion at the Lincoln Center's 1999 Festival in New York, he has toured  to Australia, France, and Italy.