November 06, 2007

白蛇传 Madam White Snake

3 November 2007 at Kreta Ayer People's Theatre, performed by the Tanjong Pagar Community Club Cantonese Opera Group, students of Lou Mee Wah.

Putting up a Chinese opera show in Singapore is a tedious, energy-sapping task, particularly a full-length opera by a CC group. According to Mee Wah, last year when she decided to do MWS, her friends asked her why she chose this opera as it would be very taxing for her as well as for her students.

Like most Chinese opera artistes in Singapore, opera is just a passion for her students; they have a full-time job to do. Understandably, their standards vary. There are some who did well and there are some who need to put more effort in their skills and more feeling in their songs. Shortcomings notwithstanding, the show was a great effort by the Group and it was a creditable performance indeed.

Different artistes took turns to play the three leading roles - Xu Xian, Bai Su Zhen and Xiao Qing.

The best scene was Flooding the Jin San Monastery. It was well-choreographed – slick and fast-paced accompanied by rousing music. Besides combat, there were displays of some excellent acrobatics and big-flag manipulation skills. Overall it gave the audience superb visual and audio entertainment.

A refreshing and unique feature – while waiting for the scene to change, a storyteller with two aunties as his audience, came out to tell the story of MWS. There was even the nostalgic catchy tune that used to precede Lee Dai Sor’s stories on Redifusion in the old days. The storyteller sat on a wooden box and the two women sat on the floor listening to him. The storyteller was Christopher Choo. Haha, he is a good storyteller.

Judging from the response around me, the audience liked this arrangement.

An unexpected thing – the VIP Assoc Prof Koo Tsai Kee, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, came before the show started at 7.30pm and stayed throughout the show until curtain call and photo-taking. Don't know he understood or not.

Picture, from left : Christopher Choo (the storyteller), Chung Yook Har (Green Snake), Loh Kwai Lan (Scholar Xu Xian) and Li Bing Mui (White Snake). They performed in the last two scenes.
朱振邦, 霞, 劳桂兰,

The 2 snakes - anxieties and worries before the show give way to joy and relief!

The artiste with the golden headgear was a 'heavenly soldier'. He was also the martial arts director. I think he is Gordon Choy. The one with the funny face was a 'crab general'. He manipulated the big flag.

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