Butterfly Lovers

- Chinese Romantic Musical presented by Da Feng Theatre

 

 

 

Dates: 11th - 14th September 2003

 

Venue:  Taipei National Theatre

 

Cast :

 Berson Wang

 Winnie Hsin

 Huang Shi Wei

 Hong Rei-Hsiang

 Cheng Bo-Ren

 Che Dan-Jiang

 Hu Yu-Zhi

 Zhang Dan Wei

 Ni Hong Quan

 

    Part of the cast in the studio recording the musical's EP

 

 

The Story (Da Feng's version) :

 Butterfly Lovers (also known as Liang Shan Bo and Zhu Ying Tai or for  short, Liang Zhu)

 is a very famous Chinese folktale of two lovers  who  found happiness in being reborn as butterflies.   

 Da Feng's version of the story started with an old man reminiscing a woman  he loved greatly,

 but who never belonged to him. 

 This old man is Ma Wen Tsai  and the woman he missed so much is Zhu Ying Tai. 

 Ying Tai is the talented daughter of a wealthy family in ancient China. 

 Based on her love for pursuit of knowledge, she pleaded with her parents  to allow her to go to school. 

 Her parents refused as  it is not acceptable for  girls to go to school in those ancient times.  

 To achieve her dream, she disguised herself as a man and  left home  for the city to go to school,

 against her parents' wishes.  On her way to the city, she met this down-to-earth and honest

 young chap  - Liang Shan Bo.  Distinct from Ying Tai,  Shan Bo is the only son of a very  poor family. 

 

 As time passes,  Ying Tai fell in love with Shan Bo, but Shan Bo  never realise   that Ying Tai is a lady.

 Amongst Ying Tai's and Shan Bo's classmates is this young, handsome and  rich fellow called Ma Wen Tsai. 

 It happened that Ma also came  from Ying Tai's  hometown.  Ma, who was already earlier attracted to 

 Ying Tai's talent even back  at their hometown, recognised Ying Tai in disguise. 

 

 

 

 One day, Ma showed her a letter from her parents.  From  the letter, she  learnt that her parents had fallen sick from

 worry since she left home.  Being a filial daughter, she decided to disrupt her studies to go home.   

 As good buddies, Shan Bo did not bear to see his "good brother" go  home so he accompanied Ying Tai on

 her way home.   Along the way, Ying Tai dropped many hints to Shan Bo about her real  identity.

 But the simple-minded Shan Bo did not understand any of her hints.

 

 To the extent that Ying Tai had to bare herself in front of him to show him that  she is not a man. 

 Overwhelmed with joy by the truth, they promised to wait for  each other and will marry none else.

 

 However, after Ying Tai returned home, Ma sent a marriage proposal to her father  

 and asked for her hand.   Ying Tai's father agreed readily but Ying Tai was much  

 against the marriage proposal, as she had already fallen in love with Shan Bo. 

 Her father understood her feelings for Shan Bo,

 but explained to her the  consequences of her not accepting Ma's proposal. 

 Ma came from an influential  family and she was worried that Shan Bo and her family might come

 to harm if she did not accept the proposal.   To protect her loved ones, she painfully  accepted

 Ma's proposal.

 On the other hand, Shan Bo who missed Ying Tai day and night since she left  school,

 decided to go and look for her even before completing his studies.   

 When he arrived at Ying Tai's house and heard that she had been betrothed  to Ma, he was devastated.  

 Worried that Shan Bo would get into  trouble because of her,

 she had to suppress her own true feelings toward Shan Bo &  persuade him to quickly go back to school,

 complete his studies,  then go home to his awaiting mother and get settled down.

 Heart broken and filled with grief, after Shan Bo left Ying Tai's home, he bumped  into Ma. 

 They got into an argument and even fought.

 But Shan Bo was no fight  for Ma's servants and got seriously injured.  Not wanting to hurt Shan Bo further,

 Ma stopped his servants from hitting Shan Bo and even gave him some money  to see a doctor for his injuries.

 However, Shan Bo finally died from his injuries.   

 When Ying Tai heard about Shan Bo's death on her wedding day, she was shattered. 

 She begged her father and Ma to allow her to visit Shan Bo's  grave on the wedding party's way to

 Ma's house.  Although her father was  disagreeable, Ma relented based on his love for Ying Tai.   

 However, at Shan Bo's grave,  Ying Tai was so extremely grieved that she  made up her mind & 

 followed Shan Bo in his death. 

 Soon after, two  butterflies flew out of the grave.   This is why this folktale is known  as "Butterfly Lovers".  

 


 

The Musical :

 Over the many years, Butterfly Lovers has been performed again & again in various forms such as movies, TV series,

  operas, etc.

 

 It is now being presented as a Chinese Musical by Mel Yang, a renowned  Taiwanese art performer. 

 In this musical, Mel & Yiu Kwong-Chung,  (Taiwan's best known and most often performed composer) combines

 the essence of the various types of music, such as Chinese traditional operas, western  operas, contemporary

 musicals, etc. 

 The creative team led by Mel, strives to  give the audience a new experience/ perspective of the Chinese love

 legend by composing completely new songs with new lyrics for the musical. 

 Through  the new set of lyrics, the Director aim to  answer  thought-provoking questions  such as:

 Why did Zhu Ying Tai die for Liang Shan Bo?

 Why did she go against her parents' wishes to pursue a love that is not  accepted by all?

 Is it due to a rebellious streak in her?

 Or is it out of pity for  Liang? Or is it out of a passion to pursue perfection in life?

 

 In addition, a different Ma Wen Tsai was being presented.  All these while,  Ma was typically known to be a rich

 but fat and ugly villain;  however, in this  version of the musical, the producer had re-created Ma as a sentimental,  

 talented,  young and handsome chap  whose feelings for Ying Tai never  changed even with time.    

 

 Berson Wang and Winnie Hsin, played the roles of Liang Shan Bo and  Zhu Ying Tai respectively.

 

Berson Wang and Winnie Hsin

 

 Berson is a very seasoned stage performer excelling in acting, singing and  dancing, whereas Winnie is an

 experienced professional singer who has been  trained vocally.  Although Butterfly Lover is Winnie's debut in

 musical  performance, Mel is confident that she will bring out the unwavering spirit  in Ying Tai's personality.   

   

 

 Initially, Winnie went into practices with many fears and worries.   

 Although singing is her forte, this musical is her first attempt in acting and she has never gone through any

 training in it.  Subsequently,  with lots of support and encouragement from the director & the other experienced

 co-actors/ actresses, she found herself fitting into Ying Tai's  role comfortably. 

 She sees a great similarity in character  between herself &  Ying Tai -  

 both exemplify great courage when pursuing one's love in life.

 

 

Winnie Hsin in blue shirt, taking a group photo with some of her hardcore fans,

on Mid Autumn Festival (11 Sept 2003) after her debut performance.

Some thoughts:

Winnie, you were brilliant and all of us are very proud of you.

We love you for who you are and it did not matter

to us at all even if you might have fumbled in any way on stage.

You may not be the best actress

(you must be a genius if you are the best actress as you only had

a very short time to master everything),

but trust us when we say you are always the best in our hearts.

You will always have our fullest support in everything,

and all of us indeed have lots to learn from you -

Humble, willing to learn, never

fearful of hardships.

You really deserve a good break after more than a month

of eating and breathing "Butterfly Lovers" everyday.

We look forward eagerly to your new works and

being touched again by your beautiful voice and your songs.

Lastly, we are grateful that you treat us as your friends and not as outsiders.

 

 

 Kelly (from Kaoshiung Taiwan):

 曉琪妳真的好棒妳知道嗎?  我知道妳在第一場的緊張心情。但妳一走出來,我們屏息,妳一開口,

 我們就被英台內心世界征服了。  如小土所說的,我可是「坐在帝王般的位子」呢。雖然以戲劇院來說,

 第一排並不一定有絕佳視野,但我看得好清楚妳臉上細微的表情, 皺眉,嘻笑,害臊,無奈,悲傷,堅毅,

 以及妳忍住不哭的表情。  英台琪在劇中的心情變化和妳歌聲的口氣一樣分明,

 看見妳輕快地和山伯以同學玩鬧,我們都放鬆地笑了, 看見妳無力地唱著千古來對於自由的疑問,

 我們也感同身受地哭了。  對於每次雞皮疙瘩的感動,我總是覺得慶幸和高興。 

 高興我們這麼愛的好棒的曉琪還可以一直快樂地唱著歌,

 慶幸的是我們可以一直快樂地聽著妳唱歌。  我也知道妳在首場謝幕時還在擔心著自己的表現,

 但妳知道嗎?有多少的眼淚是為了英台琪而流, 有多少的掌聲是為了妳的勇敢和努力而響。

 我相信妳演出的英台琪因妳的詮釋,有了她新的生命; 而妳的生命也因為英台的加入,

 有了不同的堅毅吧。在交會又分手後, 看來好像就這樣結束了,但彼此卻皆有微妙的改變。 

 好像小品電影一樣,我喜歡這樣的結局:)  

 至於中秋夜的相遇,妳那麼累了還讓我們見著妳,小小談一談就好開心。

 大家事後回憶都覺得曉琪兒妳沒有把我們當外人,真的好貼心。

 誰能像我們這麼幸運:)  呵呵呵呵~~ (我好開心一直笑)。

 

 

 Pooh (Singapore):

 On 11th Sept 2003, I flew to Taipei to watch Butterfly Lovers.  This is Winnie's first musical and she had put in

 a lot of effort in it.  I felt that it would definitely  worth the trip. It was Mid Autumn Festival and the night was cloudy. 

 In Taipei's  National Theatre, the show started promptly at 7.30 pm when the orchestra  conductor made her

 entrance.  

 The first part of the show lasted for about an  hour and started off on a lighter note.  Winnie sang very well,

 but was rather  tensed & a little self-conscious.

 During the second part of the show, the atmosphere was intensified with  scenes of Ying Tai wanting to defy

 her parents'  wishes of accepting Ma's  proposal, Ying Tai's meeting with Shan Bo at the Tower & her struggle  

 between self-denial of  her love and consideration of her loved ones'  wellness.  It ended with Ying Tai & Shan Bo

 being transformed into butterflies after their deaths & with Ma still thinking about Ying Tai even  in his old age.

 The orchestra was brilliant in their performance. The music was very beautifully  composed.  The actors did well. 

 Even though it was Winnie's debut in musical,  and she might not have acted as perfectly as she hoped,

 she sang very well.  Many hearts were touched by her beautiful vocal. 

 During the rehearsals,  Winnie & Berson had some difficulties in putting up the part on their meeting at the

 Tower;  they were always so touched by the story that they themselves  could not help but break down in tears

 and as such, could not continue acting.   However, during the performance, Winnie controlled her feelings well

 and did not break down in tears to the extent where her acting was affected. 

 Many audiences were engaged into their  inner feelings by this touching scene.

 5 other friends and myself were so touched that we stood up in appreciation  at the end of the performance &

 applauded all the performers in their brilliant  effort. 

 After the show, we also had a chance to meet up with Winnie briefly and she kindly autographed on our

 programme booklets as momentos  Once again, she was very friendly, chatted with us a little  even though

 she  was already quite tired after the performance.  She even spontaneously gave  each of  us a hug

 when she saw us.   A very personal encounter indeed.

 

 The following night,  I went for another round of the performance and found that  Winnie was less nervous & acted

 more at ease.  A marked difference from  the first performance.  As I watched her, I was so joyous that she managed

 to pull herself together and put up a brilliant show.  After the performance, I am  very confident that Winnie will only

 get better and better with each performance,   YES! She has done it!

 

 Whatever it is, it is Winnie's courage and her diligence that left a deep impression  in me. 

 Although this is her first musical and she faced many difficulties,  challenges, and even fears of failure,

 she pressed on undaunted. 

 It was  challenging,  and I dare say, Winnie must be feeling very rewarded now by this  valuable experience. 

 Thankful that "Butterfly Lovers" has brought out the best in Winnie.

 Cheers!

 (I will remember this autumn for a long long time ... ... ... )

 

 Winnie's thoughts after her performances:

 "梁祝" 終於演完了 ……

 在這幾天空窗的日子中難免會有些失落感
 但不斷聽到身旁的朋友述說著他們是如何的感動

 以及有再想看一次的衝動 也在網上留言版看到大部份是說出自己心中的悸動與鼓勵我的話

 也有少數的朋友對我說出了自己中肯的指教與建議 我想這些建言我都會虛心的調整與改進

 謝謝大家的關懷與體諒

 回想起從正式排練到結束演出將近三個月的時間
 中間還花了五天的時間到香港紅磡唱了兩 場演唱會

 對我這個劇場新手來說每天都似乎在地獄漫遊 對自己將會有什麼樣的表現處於一個未知與茫然的狀態中

 當然這樣的恐懼也隨著導演耐心的指導及其他演員的包容與鼓勵下 讓我漸入佳境而能享受其中樂趣

 首演完的第一晚我在化妝間掉下了很久很久沒有掉過的挫敗眼淚
 

 我記得上次掉下這種”眼淚 是在我大學畢業巡迴演出 在我的家鄉台中中興堂演唱完後 

 而在我當歌手後似乎沒有因為我的演唱表演而感到懊惱與挫敗

 這真是一個深刻而慘痛的記憶啊套句導演說的 對我是一個 震撼教育”, 

 我感謝有這一晚震撼教育的教訓

 我是一個不會輕易被打敗的人以前是現在更是 還好其他的五場雖說不盡完美但最後我做到了

 起碼在階段性上我達到了 也許有些朋友無法體會但到最後我連吞三顆藥都無法入眠的痛苦

 現在終於是…… 值得了 !!

 感恩能有這樣的演出機會接下來馬上要到中國內地演唱表演
 我相信 再次站上數萬人的體育場館

 唱著我自己的歌 在經過梁祝”的洗禮後 肯定會有極不同的衝動與感受
 

 我要謝謝所有的人……  愛我的不愛我的喜歡我的不喜歡我的 真的…… 謝謝大家 !!!

 總之心中藏有千萬語希望梁祝”所有認真投入如此可愛的工作夥伴們

 都能共同努力讓梁祝” 繼續發光發熱

 梁祝” 走出台北走出台灣走向世界 !!


 心中澎湃         輾轉難眠       想著梁祝”       想著大家

 


Winnie in celebration with the some of the team members behind the success of the musical

曉琪接受訪問影片檔

 

 

More pictures:

 

 

 

 

Footnotes: Most pictures are taken from Liang Zhu's official website. (http://www.liang-zhu.com)


曉音琪緣  http://www.winniehsin.net