A production of "Hack Open the Coffin" and "Sitting in the Palace" brought to you in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the Shuang Xin Tsao Private Foundation.
During China's Warring State, 2400 BC, Zhuang Zhou (aka Zixiu) of Song State lived with his young and pretty wife, Tianshi. A great philosopher and the founder of Tao (Way of Life), he loved to travel far & wide, to teach Daodejing and to meet great sages. One day, on returning home, he saw skeletons scattered in the wilderness and contemplated that after a life's labor for fame & wealth we all end with nothing. He chanced upon a young widow fanning a new grave. Her husband had asked her to wait until his grave dried before remarrying. When he relayed the story to his own wife she was most indignant and said that as a well-born lady from a prominent family would serve only one husband in life, never to remarry. That gave Zhuangzi an idea to test her chastity and filial piety by using the magic of self-replication & body concealment to feign his own death and to court his own widow in the form of a handsome young prince. The ensuing drama speaks to themes of love, loyalty, fame and fortune.
Our Ensemble consists of a core group of actors and actresses who have worked together on many previous projects, accompanied by additional professionals as needed. Peking opera roles are not interchangeable in the sense that an individual spends decades training in order to properly portray an "old man" or a "clown." The saying goes, "every 10 minutes on stage takes 10 years behind the scenes." Due to the demanding nature of roles requiring not only vocal mastery but often martial arts and perfect stage movements and hand gestures, we only work with professionals actors with made decades' of experience because they have trained since childhood.
Hack Open the Coffin
+ Sitting in the Palace
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council