Wenwei Post: Fusion of Kun Opera and Puppetry Yields Brilliant Results (Excerpts)


Ourenji, a Kun opera show, was presented successfully for two days at the Academy Theatre, arousing great interest among the Shanghai theatre and audiences. As the graduation performance of the 2014 undergraduates majoring in directing for Chinese opera at the Chinese Opera Collage of STA, its 4 directors—Yuan Chao, Wang Yixiao, Song Jinzhao and Xiao Yao expressed with satisfaction:” This is the very first time to combine Kunqu with puppetry.” Both listed as the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, Kun opera and Puppetry are fused skillfully together for the first time at stage.

What is surprised is that nearly 50 performers in this highly difficult play are all the students at the Opera Collage of STA majoring in directing for Chinese opera, acting for Kun opera, puppeteering and Chinese opera musical etc.

The relationships in the play have rich flavor of modernity and wariness.

Ourenji is adapted from the playwright Chen Jianqiu’s libretto. It tells a story that the female celestial Zi Xia is obsessed with The Peony Pavilion, a puppet show, and is deeply touched by that love story. Having seen this show, she wants to have a marriage with the xiaosheng Mengguan.

The chief actor and actress, Wei Li and Jiang Shijia, said that they felt this play quite fresh after performing lots of plays about talented scholars and lovely ladies or emperors. Especially the xiaosheng Mengguan in this play who tangles up with several women is quiet different from its traditional infatuated image. Fu Xiaoping, the head of the Chinese opera directing major, thought:” The relationships in the play have rich flavor of modernity and wariness. Therefore, students performed in a direct way and expressed the tension of the play, leaving the audiences to ponder.”