Birthday of the God of Venus and Prime Minister of Six States | The Warrior’s Marriage, The Legend of the White Snake and He Wenxiu Reunited with His Wife | Insulting Zhou Yu Thrice | Forty Years of Cherished Love | Time to Go Home | The Return of Zhu Bian | Tomb of the Fragrant Gown | At the Sweet Dew Monastery and Call for Return | Goddess of the Luo River | The Outburst of a Shrew | The Legend of the White Snake | The Purple Hairpin | The Immortal Chang Yuk-kiu

 

Birthday of the God of Venus and Prime Minister of Six States

For the dedication of our new Grand Theatre stage, the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong presents two auspicious ritual plays traditionally performed to mark the beginning of a new season.

Birthday of the God of Venus

In this ceremonial play invoking blessings from the gods, the Eight Immortals gather to offer greetings on the birthday of the god of the planet Venus.

Prime Minister of Six States

Set during the Warring States period, this rousing story of unity and collaboration showcases the skills of the full troupe. When the talented strategist Su Qin persuades the rulers of the states of Yan, Han, Qi, Zhao, Chu and Wei to work together against their common enemy, the powerful Qin, the collaborators emerge victorious. In honour of his success, Su Qin is appointed common prime minister by the six rulers. 

Artistic Directors: Danny Li Chi-kei, Law Ka-ying

Cast (In no particular order): Lui Hung-kwong, Yau Sing-po, Liu Kwok-sum, Sun Kim-long, Roger Chan, Chan Kim-fung, Ng Chin-fung, Yuen Siu-fai, Ruan Dewen, Alan Tam Wing-lun, Wan Yuk-yu, Song Hong-bo, Law Ka-ying, Loong Koon-tin, Wong Wai-kuan, Lau Wai-ming, Man Po-sum, Dianna Tse Hue-ying, Wong Kit-ching, Johnson Yuen, Nan Fung, Ko Lai, Chui Yuet-ming, Lam Po-chu, Cheng Wing-mui, Eliza Li Pui-yan, Tang Mi-ling, Emily Chan, Wong Chiu-kwan, Chan Ho-kau, and martial artists from Hong Kong Cantonese Opera Luen Yue Tong

Date: 30 December 2018 (Sunday)

Time: 3:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

Excerpts from The Warrior’s Marriage, The Legend of the White Snake and He Wenxiu Reunited with His Wife

“The City Tower” from The Warrior’s Marriage

Playwright: So Yung

In a story full of intrigue and plot twists, Ming general Hua Yunlong plots to seduce Yinping, the princess of Northern Han in order to infiltrate the Han court and army. But when the two fall in love and Yinping discovers that her lineage is not what she thought it was, Hua’s plan has unexpected consequences …

“The Battle on the Water” from The Legend of the White Snake

Learning of the marriage between scholar Xu Xian and beautiful Bai Suzhen (Lady White Snake), the powerful Buddhist monk Fahai becomes concerned. After informing Xu that his wife and her friend Xiao Qing are both magical snakes in human form, Fahai holds the young man captive at Jingshan temple. When Xiao Qing and Bai arrive and plead with Fahai to release Xu, he refuses. Pregnant with Xu’s child and desperate to free her husband, Bai uses her powers to flood the temple, calling upon aquatic creatures to help her. Will Bai and Xiao Qing prevail in their efforts to save Xu?

“Reunion at the Funeral Home” from He Wenxiu Reunited with His Wife

He Wenxiu is a poor scholar who sells calligraphy for a living. One month, when he and his beautiful wife Wang Lanying struggle to find money for the rent, they receive a visit from their landlord’s servant. Noting Lanying’s beauty, the servant reports back to the landlord Zhang Tang. Devising a plot to gain Lanying for himself, Zhang lures He Wenxiu away with an offer of well-paid work, then has him falsely accused of murder and banished. Ordered to take He Wenxiu away and kill him, Zhang’s guard takes pity on the young man and gives him money to escape to the capital. But how will the young couple manage to find each other again?

Artistic Director: Wan Fai-yin

Cast:
The Warrior’s Marriage: Christie To Wing-sum, Wong Hai-wing
The Legend of the White Snake: Cheung Siu-lun, Ng Sze-wing, Ng Wing-lam, Hui Ka-ki, Hon Tak-kwong
He Wenxiu Reunited with His Wife: Johnson Yuen, Leung Fei-tung

Date: 31 December 2018 (Monday)

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

Excerpts from Insulting Zhou Yu Thrice

Six excerpts from Insulting Zhou Yu Thrice: “The Battle Begins”, “Trapped in the City”, “The Fight”, “Hiding in the Luo River”, “The Journey Back Home” and “Death”

During the Three Kingdoms era, Dong Wu general Zhou Yu is plotting the downfall of Liu Bei, the ruler of the Shu state. Luring him with the offer of his beautiful sister’s hand in marriage, Zhou hopes to draw Liu close and have him murdered.

Heeding the advice of the Shu state military strategist Kongming, Liu accepts the offer, but is careful to develop a close rapport with the Queen Mother of Dong Wu to help ensure his safety. After the wedding, Liu heads home to Shu with his new wife Sun Shangxiang. Planning an ambush, Zhou sends his troops after them, but the plan fails when Sun orders the troops to retreat. When a second ambush also fails due to the intervention of Kongming, Zhou is stricken and soon falls gravely ill.

Date: 31 December 2018 (Monday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

Artistic Director: Yuen Siu-fai

Cast: Ng Lap-hei, Yau Sing-po, Song Hong-bo, Emily Chan,Yuen Siu-fai, Johnson Yuen, Cannon Au, Shum Pak-chuen

 

Excerpts from Forty Years of Cherished Love

Four excerpts from Forty Years of Cherished Love: “Flute Playing with Sorrow”, “Poem on the Garden Wall”, “Tears in the Dark” and “Revisiting Shen Garden”

Playwright: Chan Koon-hing

Based on the life of the patriotic poet Lu You, this play recounts the story of Lu’s separation from his first wife and young love, Tang Wan.

When Tang fails to produce a male heir and Lu’s political aspirations flounder, Lu’s mother forces the couple to separate, insisting that Tang brings her son bad luck. A few years later, after Tang and Lu have both remarried, the couple meet accidentally in the Shen Garden. Overcome at the sight of his lost love, Lu writes a poem on the garden wall. But when Tang sees it, she is consumed with grief and falls fatally ill.

Forty years later, Lu revisits the Shen Garden with a heavy heart.

Artistic Director: Wan Fai-yin

Cast: Chan Chak-lui, Cheng Wing-mui, Chung Yat-ming, Cheung Kit-ha, Chan Hei-yu, Ko Man-him

Date: 1 January 2019 (Tuesday)

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

Excerpts from Time to Go Home

Three excerpts from Time to Go Home: “Consoling the Wife”, “Forcing out the Daughter-in-law”, “Crying by the Grave”

Playwright: Fung Chi-fun

Having arranged for her son Pingsheng to marry a cousin, Madam Wen is furious when he returns home with a young woman named Zhao Pinniang, declaring that he has fallen in love and that he will marry no one else.

The two jilted parties, Pingsheng’s cousin and Zhao Pinniang’s former suitor, are also furious. Coming together to plot revenge they bribe a doctor to diagnose Pinniang with an incurable disease. Madam Wenfeng also threatens her son that she will take her own life if Pinniang remains in their home. To alleviate the situation, Pingsheng moves his wife to another house. But when he is later called to war, his mother takes advantage of his absence to force Pinniang to divorce him and move away.

Returning from the battlefield, Pingsheng is devastated at his wife’s disappearance. Hearing that she has passed away he visits the grave with a heavy heart …

Artistic Director: Yuen Siu-fai

Cast: Ng Chin-fung, Wan Fai-yin, Liu Kwok-sum, Siu Wing-yee

Date: 1 January 2019 (Tuesday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

Excerpts from The Return of Zhu Bian

Four excerpts from The Return of Zhu Bian: “Crying for the Emperor”, “The Hunt”, “Saying Goodbye” and “Return to the Throne”

Playwright: Yip Shiu-tak

Zhu Bian, a loyal minister of the Song court, is sent to the neighbouring Jin state to plead for the return of two former Song emperors. Plotting to have Zhu killed, the Jin emperor Wushu orders Princess Feifung to negotiate with Zhu while he waits to take action. But moved by Zhu’s loyalty, Feifung persuades Wushu to have him exiled instead.

While accompanying Zhu into exile, Feifung tells him that she was adopted by Wushu after he destroyed her Liao motherland. Realising that they share the same enemy, the two become sworn siblings. After six years in exile, when Zhu is informed that both captive emperors have died, he returns to Song, unaware of Wushu’s plan to have him branded as a traitor …

Artistic Director: Wan Fai-yin

Cast: Johnson Yuen, Leung Fei-tung, Cannon Au, Shum Pak-chuen, Vanessa Tsang, Luvin Ho

Date: 2 January 2019 (Wednesday)

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

Excerpts from Tomb of the Fragrant Gown

Three excerpts from Tomb of the Fragrant Gown: “View from the Room”, “The Trial” and “Encounter on the Road”

Playwright: Tong Tik-sang

Military officer Zhao Shizhen is married to Lin Ruixiang, a devoted wife and mother. But Zhao is a jealous man. When he finds his wife’s sash in the room of the family teacher Lu Shike, he is quick to accuse his wife of adultery. Although the sash was accidentally left in the teacher’s room by their son, Zhao flies into a jealous rage, and tests his wife by forcing her to flirt with the teacher. Horrified, Lu leaves the family residence. Sometime later, Zhao encounters a bandit while inspecting his land. After strangling the man with his wife’s sash, he cuts off his head and continues on the tour of his land. When the headless corpse is discovered along with Lin’s sash, it is presumed to be the body of Zhao, who has not returned home, and Lin is arrested and accused of his murder. The official in charge of the case is the family’s former teacher Lu. Biased against Lin because of earlier events, he finds her guilty and sentences her to death. But will Zhao return soon enough to save her?

Artistic Director: Yuen Siu-fai

Cast: Loong Koon-tin, Emily Chan, Sun Kim-long, Liu Kwok-sum, Johnson Yuen, Leung Fei-tung, Ng Sin-hang

Date: 2 January 2019 (Wednesday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

At the Sweet Dew Monastery and Call for Return

During the Three Kingdoms era, Dong Wu general Zhou Yu is plotting the downfall of Liu Bei, the ruler of the Shu state. Luring him with the offer of his beautiful sister’s hand in marriage, Zhou hopes to draw Liu close and have him murdered.

Heeding the advice of the Shu state military strategist Kongming, Liu accepts the offer. At his wedding at the Sweet Dew Monastery, he delivers a compelling speech, winning the heart of the Queen Mother and ensuring his safety. After the wedding, Liu heads home to Shu with his new wife Sun Shangxiang. But is their happy future secured?

Artistic Director: Sun Kim-long

Cast: Ng Lap-hei, Wang Kit-ching, Szeto Chui-ying, Pui Chun-hin, Cannon Au, Chan Yuk-hing, Christie To

Date: 3 and 4 January 2019 (Thursday and Friday)

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

 

Excerpts from Goddess of the Luo River

Three excerpts from Goddess of the Luo River: “Sweet Pear Court”, “Writing a Letter”, “Poem in Seven Steps”

Playwright: Tong Tik-sang

Planning to make his scholarly son Zhi his successor, the powerful warlord Cao Cao arranges for him to marry Chen Dezhu, the daughter of a government official. But Zhi is deeply in love with Zhen Mi, a woman his jealous brother Pi also covets. When Cao arranges a marriage between Zhen Mi and Pi, a complicated rivalry over love and power begins to play out.

When Cao dies, Pi seizes power and begins a purge on his brothers. Summoning Zhi, now renowned for his skills as a poet, he orders him to compose a complex poem on the spot, threatening him with death if he fails. To Pi’s surprise, Zhi accomplishes the task and is spared. Horrified by Pi’s attempted purge, Zhen Mi hacks a foot from a tripod cauldron to show Pi how helpless he would be without his brothers. In despair she then throws herself into the Luo River where she drowns. Heartbroken, Zhi grieves on the bank of the river, where Zhen appears to him transformed into the Goddess of the Luo River.

Artistic Director: Yuen Siu-fai

Cast: Nan Fung, Liang Zhaoming, Li Qiuyuan, Liu Kwok-sum, Lui Hung-kwong, Man Shuet-kau, Shum Pak-chuen

Date: 3 January 2019 (Thursday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

Excerpts from The Outburst of a Shrew

Three excerpts from The Outburst of a Shrew: “Admiring the Snow”, “Divorcing the Wife” and “The Outburst in the King’s Court”

Playwright: Tong Tik-sang

Adapted from a well-known Ming play, this is the story of the intelligent Liu Yu’e and her husband, Chen Jichang. Realising that Chen has taken a concubine, Liu is furious and orders him to kneel at her feet and repent. Humiliated by his wife’s treatment, Chen is persuaded to divorce her.

When Liu seeks justice in court, the judge, her uncle Gui, tries to punish her for being outspoken. In turn he is later also punished by his wife. Banding together, Chen and Gui seek help from the emperor. But when the emperor orders Liu to let her husband keep his concubine she declares that she would rather die …

Artistic Director: Loong Koon-tin

Cast: Sun Kim-long, Wong Chiu-kwan, Song Hong-bo, Lam Po-chu, Cannon Au, Wai Chun-long

Date: 4 January 2019 (Friday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

Excerpts from The Legend of the White Snake

Three excerpts from The Legend of the White Snake: “Roaming the Lake”, “Stealing the Magical Plant” and “The Broken Bridge”

Learning of the marriage between scholar Xu Xian and the beautiful Bai Suzhen (Lady White Snake), the powerful Buddhist monk Fahai becomes concerned. After informing Xu that his wife and her friend Xiao Qing are both magical snakes in human form, Fahai holds the young man captive at Jingshan temple. When Xiao Qing and Bai arrive and plead with Fahai to release Xu, he refuses. Pregnant with Xu’s child and desperate to free her husband, Bai uses her powers to flood the temple, calling upon aquatic creatures to help her. Will Bai and Xiao Qing prevail in their efforts to save Xu?

Artistic Director: Sun Kim-long

Cast:
Lake Cruise: Man Wah, Ling Yan, Lam Tsz-ching, Wong Yuk-wah
Stealing the Medicine: Katie Chan, Kwong Shing-kwan, So Premium Jiny, Chung Yat-ming
Broken Bridge: Ruan Dewen, Janet Wong, Man Shuet-kau

Date: 5 and 6 January 2019 (Saturday and Sunday)

Time: 3:00pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

Excerpts from The Purple Hairpin

Four excerpts from The Purple Hairpin: “Picking up the Purple Hairpin”, “Breaking the Willow Branch at the Yangguan Pass”, “Reunion of Sword and Pin” and “Princely Favours”

Playwright: Tong Tik-sang

A Tong Tik-sang staple, this is the love story of Huo Xiaoyu, a beautiful courtesan and Li Yi, a talented young scholar.

On the night of the Spring Lantern Festival – Chinese Valentine’s Day – Li picks up a purple hairpin that Huo has dropped. Before the night ends the two have fallen deeply in love and married. The same night, Lu Yanzhen, the daughter of a high official, also has a chance encounter with Li and lets him know that she is keen to marry him. When Li declines, Lu’s father punishes him by sending him to a distant military post.

In Li’s absence, Huo struggles to make ends meet and is soon forced to pawn her jewellery, including the precious purple hairpin. But the arrival of a mysterious horseman in yellow garb brings hope that the pair may soon be reunited.

Artistic Director: Loong Koon-tin

Cast: Loong Koon-tin, Tang Mi-ling, Roger Chan, Lui Hung-kwong, Chan Ka-ming, Song Hong-bo, Lam Man-sing

Date: 5 January 2019 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

Excerpts from The Immortal Cheung Yuk-kiu

Three excerpts from The Immortal Cheung Yuk-kiu: “Birthday Extravaganza”, “Resistance”, “Fighting the Enemy”

Playwright: Tong Tik-sang
Adaptation: Yip Shiu-Tak

Set during the time of the Qing invasion of southern China, the play revolves around the female lead Cheung Yuk-kiu, a famous courtesan. Courted by two men, surrendering Ming general Lee Shing-dong and resistance fighter Chan Tsz-chong, Cheung chooses Chan as her lover. But when Chan is defeated and killed by the invading army, Cheung risks humiliation to marry Lee and save her lover’s family. Distraught at the fate of her lover and her motherland, Cheung is unhappy in her new marriage, but soon finds a way to use her charms to persuade Lee into attempting a revolt against the Qing.

Artistic Director: Loong Koon-tin

Cast: Law Ka-ying, Cheng Wing-mui, Wan Yuk-yu, Ko Lai, Yuen Ying-wah, Chan Chak-lui, Lau Yu-feng

Date: 6 January 2019 (Saturday)

Time: 7:30pm

Venue: Grand Theatre, Xiqu Centre

Performances in Cantonese (and archaic Mandarin) with Chinese and English surtitles.

Free admission. Online registration opens 11 December 2018. Limited tickets will be available at the Xiqu Centre on the day.

 

Special thanks to the Chinese Artists Association of Hong Kong