A Plot of Manage-a-Trois

At the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220AD), Dong Zhuo, a mighty and ruthless general, seizes power from the emperor. Wang Yun, the loyal Prime Minister, worries about Dong’s threat to the throne. One day Wang chances to see Diao Chan, his beautiful ad...

An Embroidered Robe

The play opens with Zheng Yuan-he, a young man from a wealthy and prominent family, down and out at the end of his rope. His current miserable state is the product of his own spoilt and sybaritic life style, as he has squandered all his money and belongings...

As a Lioness Roars

Written by Wang Tingna of the Ming dynasty (1369-1644), a renowned playwright and poet whose dates are not known to us today, except that he was active during the twilight years of the 16th century and a contemporary and close associate of Tang Xianzu...

Fifteen Strings of Cash

Written by Sucheng Zhu in the seventeenth century, the original script was adapted in the 1950s and performed with the lead roles played by kunqu masters Chuanying Zhou and Chuansong Wang who brought life and depth to the characters. This adaptation and...

Journey to the West

Journey to the West  depicts the pilgrimage of Tripitaka (Xuanzang of the Tang dynasty, 602-664) to India to receive Buddhist teaching and obtain the scriptures. According to folklore, he is escorted by Sun Wukong (The Monkey King), Zhu Bajie (The Lustful ...

Lady Glory's Trek to the North

Inspired by Autumn at the Han Palace , a masterpiece of poetic drama written by Ma Zhiyuan of the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368), Lady Glory's Trek to the North is a Kunqu theater replete with sophisticated singing, dexterous acting and dancing, which makes...

The Jade Pin

The Jade Pin , written by Lian Gao (1527-1609?), depicts a secret love affair between Pan Bizheng, a scholar, and Chen Miaochang, a young maiden cloistered in a nunnery, and the consequences that ensue when it becomes known. In childhood Bizheng was...

The Palace of Eternal Youth

The Palace of Eternal Youth (1688) by Sheng Hong (1645-1704), a kunqu classic, weaves an epic tale of political corruption, military revolt, and social unrest into the love story of Emperor Minghuang and Lady Yang. Known for her beauty and artistic...

The Pavilion of Clear Breeze

The Pavilion of Clear Breeze was written by Chaoguan Yang of the eighteenth century. The play consists of thirty two one-acts, with stories based on histories and legends that reflect the various manifestations of humanity and the sharp contrast between...

The Peony Pavilion

The Peony Pavilion (1598), also known as The Return of the Soul, is written by the prominent playwright Xianzu Tang (1550-1616), a play included in his four dream plays and long regarded as a masterpiece of Chinese literature and kunqu. The play...

The Phoenix Mountain

The Phoenix Mountain , an anonymous work from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), depicts a spy scheme that implicates the life and death of a princess. Suspicious of a possible rebellion act by Lord Anxi, the Yuan government dispatches Liulang Jiang, a...

The Story of Nuptial Gallery

The Story of Nuptial Gallery was written by Ling Wang of the sixteenth century. Adapted from an earlier play called The Story of the Ruined Shed , the play depicts Liu Qianjin, daughter of the prime minister, who offered her nuptial ribbon ball to Lu...

The Story of the Thorn Hairpin

The Story of the Thorn Hairpin is an anonymous work written in the fourteenth century. Wang Shipeng, a poor scholar, was engaged to Qian Yulian, who accepted his engagement gift of a thorn hairpin. Later Wang passed the civil examination as the top scholar ...

The Story of the White Rabbit

A play written in the fourteenth century, The Story of the White Rabbit recounts the trials of Li Sanniang, a virtuous wife, and her eventual reunion with her husband and son. Shortly after their marriage, Liu Zhiyuan, Sanniang’s husband, leaves her a...

The Story of Washing Gauze

The Story of Washing Gauze , written by Chenyu Liang of the sixteenth century, is the first known play that employed kunqu in stage performance and contributed greatly to the art form’s popularization and development. The play depicts the conflict b...

The Water Margin

The Water Margin , written by Zichang Xu in the early seventeenth century, dramatizes episodes from the famous novel of the same name, focusing on the character Jiang Song and others related to him. Song, an honest captain working for a magistrate’s c...

Zhong Kui’s Earthly Mission

Zhong Kui, an aspiring scholar, traveled to the capital with his friend Du Ping to take the imperial examination, which both of them passed. Du Ping was promptly appointed to an official post, whereas Zhong Kui was disqualified by the emperor because ...

Comments are closed.