Wed 14 Sep 2011
With referral to an external post, I would like to present here a few scenes from a play I liked very much. You can buy a copy here if you’re fond of tasteful innovation. All videos were converted to MP4 with Handbrake, and suffered only minimal deinterlacing loss. Summaries in English were found at 好戏网.
《宰相刘罗锅》Zaixiang Liu Luoguo (Prime Minister Humpbacked Liu)
Chapter I — Debut
Emperor Qianlong attempted the daughter of the Sixth Grand Prince to become his concubine. However, the princess hated to be restrained by rules and manners in the royal court. As a master of chess playing, she intended to take the initiative by selecting her husband through chess playing in the chess court. Liu Yong (Hunchback Liu), who arrived in Beijing for the Imperial Examination (The feudal society of china employed the Imperial Examination System to select officials from intellectuals), ran into the chess court and won the game. But then he was driven into a dilemma by Emperor Qianlong, traveling in disguise, who argued for another game. In the Imperial Examination, Courtier He Shen pulled strings behind the scenes so that Liu Yong failed. But He Shen’s conspiracy was exposed by Liu Yong. He Shen tried hard to drive Liu Yong to a dead end. Eventually, when Liu Yong succeeded in passing the exam and was holding the wedding ceremony, Emperor Qianlong and Courtier He Shen showed up without notice. What will be the fate of Liu Yong?
Liu Yong has to face the worst wedding night ever: not only his father-in-law returns twice to talk to his daughter, but the Emperor also shows up. Princess Gege is spending the night with playing chess. At least, Liu Yong gets a funny wedding present in matryoshka boxes.
“Little shoes!” (Chen Shaoyun)
Chapter II — Night Interrogation
Jiangsu provincial governor Ye Guotai committed embezzlement by misreporting the thirty-li (one li is about 500 meters) river embankment as eight hundred-li. When Emperor Qianlong made an inspection tour in southern areas to the Yangtze River, Ye Guotai and He Shen conspired to block the way. Liu Yong, as magistrate of Jiangning, strived to break their plot. Right then, the Emperor caught sight of a beauty Yin Hong, passing by on a boat. Qianlong chased after the beauty to the Qinxin Mansion, ran into conflict with a bully Shi Jinghu there and brought him to death for his vicious behavior. Then Qianlong and He Shen were put into jail accidentally by Zhang Cheng. Ye Guotai meant to play both ends against the middle, dictating Liu Yong to punish severely on the case. Liu Yong had quick wits to hold night interrogation to free Qianlong from jail and to expose the embezzlement by Ye Guotai.
The Emperor falls for the beautiful Yin Hong, and tries to seduce her with sweet words. Later he accidentally kills a village bully, Shi Jinghu in a battle of love, and gets arrested.
Qianlong wears rose-tinted glasses. (Li Yan, Zhang Huifang)
Gege’s father gets drunk and shows us his vocal abilities. The Princess isn’t pleased. Liu Yong returns with the bad news – some serious watersleeves twirling goes on.
“Daddy, please stop singing!” (Ma Zengshou, Dong Yuanyuan)
“What should we do now?” (Chen Shaoyun)
Chapter III — Plum Chanting
In believing that a heavy snow foretells a big harvest, Emperor Qianlong began to intone a poem spontaneously and then got stuck. Liu Yong moved on to consummate the poem. Qianlong agreeably accepted it. He Shen was very jealous of Liu’s talent. Then Liu Yong’s wife, the princess, compiled the poem into Liu Yong’s collection of works by chance. He Shen took advantage of the incident and threw Liu Yong into jail, intending to put him in a fatal position. The Emperor pretended to grant Liu Yong a sword to commit suicide, meaning to cutting down his pride and overconfidence. Liu Yong and the Princess exercised their intelligence to free themselves from the hot water, winning back the emperor’s favor, and putting He Shen in an embarrassing position.
Scene4 and 5
These come with a different cast.
Wang Rongrong plays the Princess.
A hardly recognizable unbearded Zhu Qiang as Emperor Qianlong.
Du Zhenjie as Liu Yong isn’t too happy about the “harakiri sword” he just got.
Contrary, the treacherous He Shen is overjoyed. A surprisingly lean Meng Guanglu without face paint. (Neither jing nor chou performers wear their usual make-up in this play.)
That’s all for today folks, I hope you had fun. ^^