A narrative full of metaphorical significance is just the starting point for the theater creation called “The Sorceress Bride”. By combining different theatrical devices, the director has created a new direction for the art form of Bangzi opera. The visual design of the performance harmonizes with the director's concept and inspires us to think about Bangzi opera in new ways. Sound design for this work also transcends the usual context for this type of opera by presenting multiple musical forms. The singing and acting skills of the lead performers are the bedrock of this performance. There is a high degree of integration in this very creative work, making it a worthy result of ten years of experimentation and creativity by the Taiwan Bangzi Opera Company. Committee member: Chang, Chi-Feng
“New Henan Opera: The Huapa Sorceress Bride”
The Taiwan BangZi Opera Company performed the “New Henan Opera: The Huapa Sorceress Bride” on December 3, 2010 at the National Theater.
The percussive instrument BangZi is a hollow wooden tube hit with a stick, which gives the BangZi opera its signature beat. Originating from China's Henan Province, the BangZi opera is known for its intense emotion, while Taiwan's BangZi opera is a synthesis, influenced by its Henan roots, yet adding some local Taiwanese flavor to it.
“The Huapa Sorceress Bride” by playwright Shih, Ju-Fang is an original script written especially for the Taiwan BangZi Opera Company and in its style and production is a prime example of Taiwanese BangZi.
Led by Wang, Hai-Ling, the “Queen of BangZi Opera,” the Company settled in southern Taiwan, bringing forth excellent younger actors and notable productions. In “The Huapa Sorceress Bride,” Wang plays the Sorceress. Winner of the National Award for Arts, Wang portrays a female character whose destiny is to become a sorceress (or metaphorically: a performer) and carry on the lifeline of her tribe (or: BangZi opera). Intentionally, the declining fate of the Huapa Tribe resonates with the current status of the traditional opera in Taiwan. The play's uniqueness derives from this underlying metaphor.
Directed by Tai, Chun-Fang, “The Huapa Sorceress Bride” is an innovative BangZi opera embodying elements of Taiwanese culture. The opera demonstrates the intensity and diversity of vocal performances which represents the vitality and energy of the Company itself. The BangZi actors are transformed into forest elves, crossing over the physical boundary of the human and elevating the magical atmosphere of the performance.
“The Huapa Sorceress Bride” adds new vibrations to the spirit of traditional opera, transforming it in the process. Defying ordinary laws both human and divine is the Sorceress' destiny, but also the destiny of the courageous Wang, Hai-Ling with her 50-year stage career.
About Taiwan BangZi Opera Company
The Chung Chou Troupe founded in Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, in 1949, was the forerunner of the Taiwan BangZi Opera Company. With the assistance and support of the ROC Marine Corps, it was relocated to Kaohsiung in 1953 and renamed the Marine Corp's Flying Horse Henan Opera Troupe. In 1996, it was transferred to the Ministry of Education as the Henan Opera Troupe of the National Guo Guang Chinese Opera Company and in 2008, was again transferred to the Council of Cultural Affairs given the new name Taiwan BangZi Opera Company. For over half a century, the Company has created Taiwanese BangZi and has performed numerous concerts both locally and abroad.