Kunqu “The Peony Pavilion: Interrupted Dream”【牡丹亭：遊園驚夢】
March 30 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pmFree
The Freer and Sackler Galleries exhibition “The Last Empresses of China: 1644-1912” (紫鸾金凤：清代宫廷皇后艺术与生活大展 2018-19年美国巡展)
Shanghai Kunqu Troupe 上海崑劇團
Meyer Auditorium, Freer and Sackler Galleries
Independence Ave at 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20560
½ block from Smithsonian Metro Stop
“The Peony of Pavilion” is a poetic play written by Tang Xianzu (1550-1616) during the Ming dynasty in 1598, at almost the exact time Shakespeare was writing “Romeo and Juliet.” The play consists of 55 scenes. Around a dozen major scenes are still consistently performed, but transitional scenes are rarely performed today. Scene 10 “The Interrupted Dream” is being performed.
The heroine of the play is a young lady named Du Liniang. Raised in a strict household, she was forbidden to leave her chambers without permission. One day, she disobeyed her parents’ orders and entered the garden, accompanied by her maid, Spring Fragrance. The spring flowers were in full bloom, and Du Liniang felt the mysterious beauty, joys and longing of nature, life and developing womanhood. After returning to the house, Du Liniang fell asleep. She dreamt that she was in the garden and met a young scholar. The two united in true love under a plum tree.
From then on she kept thinking of her lover from the dream. She returned to the garden to pursue the dream but was unable to bring it back. She fell sick and after drawing a self-portrait, she died of a broken heart. Eventually, the young man appeared; he brought Du Liniang back to life and the couple married.