The Immortal Lovers was inspired by one of Li Bai’s poems, which goes “I would have to be your eternal friend, and meet you on the clouds.” The show was especially designed for Liao Chiung-chih, who is known for her crying tune in Taiwanese Opera and is recognized as Taiwan’s first ku-dan (a sorrowf...Read more
The Immortal Lovers was inspired by one of Li Bai’s poems, which goes “I would have to be your eternal friend, and meet you on the clouds.” The show was especially designed for Liao Chiung-chih, who is known for her crying tune in Taiwanese Opera and is recognized as Taiwan’s first ku-dan (a sorrowful female character) by the screenwriter Shi Ru-fang. Making use of flashbacks, flash-forwards, and time transitions, this story follows the female protagonist’s reminiscence of the image of a lover from her youth, Wei Shao-an, even at the mourning hall of her recently deceased husband. She recalls her vow with Wei Shao-an when she gave him a purse with an embroidered pattern of mandarin ducks as a token of their love. She also recalls an unexpected encounter with Wei Shao-an after she had sold herself in exchange for the burial of her deceased father and married into the Tsiu family. Moreover, she recalls the “longest night in her life” while she was waiting to elope with Wei Shao-an. Being informed of the death of her lover Wei Shao-an at her own husband’s mourning hall, she cannot restrain her own emotions anymore and bursts into tears in tremendous pain. However, while she laments the death of her “significant other,” is she weeping for her husband or her lover? Shi Ru-fang commented on the charm of the National Arts Award winner Liao Chiung-chih’s crying tune, which was pathetic and touching. Liao Chiung-chih’s crying voice, which conveyed her real feelings and sentiments, enabled audiences to sympathize with and contemplate the deviant behaviors and spiritual infidelity of characters in the show. The ku-dan character in the show also defiantly broke free from the static character of a ku-dan, who is typically portrayed as a submissive and passive victim.
In addition to playing the male protagonist Wei Shao-an, the artistic director/ leading male character performer, Tang Mei-yun, also personally directed the show. A rotating platform was ingeniously used to represent alternate scenes representing the present and scenes remembered from the past. Besides, the licorice character Madame Shih, who plays a role with a connecting function in the show, was played by Hsiao Mi, a multitalented actress initially from another professional field. Neutralized by Hsiao Mi’s witty and comical performance, the tragic mood of the show about an unresolved love affair becomes magically sprinkled with a tint of warmth.
|Group||Tang Mei Yun Taiwanese Opera Company|
|Other Works||Love and Pregnancy The Symphony of Fate Who Is My Bride? Deathless Beauty|