Ne-zha's story is strange. It has the feeling of a fairytale, and is something that children enjoy, however it is really very violent. Ne-zha commits murder, but his parents just like "oh well, boys will be boys, you know?" It's sort of like watching Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry cartoons today. As a kid, it just doesn't sink in how very violent those cartoons are - people get shot, crushed, fall thousands of feet, and all sorts of other crazy things, and it's meant to be laughed at. I'm not saying that Loony Tunes are responsible for the violence in kids today or anything, because I don't think that's true. Obviously, most kids can distinguish between reality and fantasy. It's just strange to look back on.
1.) In northern drama, only one character would actually sing, everyone else's roles were spoken. In southern drama, almost every character sings, and there are duets and choruses and the like. Southern drama is also longer and includes more characters and subplots.
2.) The most remarkable even in the play, I think, is that Du Li-niang comes back from the dead. The fact that she came back to earth as a spirit is remarkable as well. Not to mention that Du Li-niang gets so worked up over spring and a dream that she keels over. Can't say that I've ever had a dream that great.
3.) I liked Spring Scent's misinterpretation of it. While it wasn't laugh out loud funny, since it's in translation, I liked that the play of words was there. Owen also doesn't mention that "gwan" can also mean "shut in." Nor does he mention "Xing" as being translatable as "arousal." With these added plays on languages, Du Li-niang's extreme reaction is at least somewhat more understandable. I found the plays on words very interesting and helpful to understanding the poem. I wonder why Owen didn't mention it with the poem, rather than just in Peony Pavillion, because I think it adds to the meaning of the poem significantly.
4.) I really want to say that there is a larger point to be made, but I'm having a hard time thinking of one. Maybe I'd have an easier time of it if I had a better grip on the historical context, but unfortunately I don't.
Peach Blossom Fan
1.) The other plays we've read so far have also been based on real people and real events. but not to the same extent as in "Peach Blossom Fan." It also would be rather risky for the playwright and the performers in that they might offend the wrong person with their representation of history.
2.) The protagonists are Li Xiang-ju and Hou Fang-yu. Hou is an important executive in the government and Li is a courtesan. Hou's influence in the government gets himself and Xiang-ju into trouble because Ruan Da-chen, a crooked member of the government, asks him for help and pays for Xiang-ju and Hou's wedding. Xiang-ju will have none of it, and this enrages Ruan, who goes on to ruin Hou's career. He then tries to force Xiang-ju to mary someone else, but she refuses and tries to kill herself. As the Manchus take over, Xiang-ju and Hou manage to escape to the same Daoist sanctuary. The politics of the story directly affect the personal lives of all the characters involved.
3.) The ultimate message of the play comes out most prominently in the end when Zhang Wei chews out Hou and Xiang-jun for being more concerned with their own pesronal affairs when the state is in disarray - that they may as well not even be married, since all the marriage registries are destroyed anyway. Additional, all the unfortunate events that befall the protagonists are caused by Xiang-Jun's refusal to have anything to do with Ruan, who was a traitor to the state.
4.) Yang Wen-cong is strangely both a part of the action and at the same time separate from it. He gives Xiang-jun her name, helps arrange her meeting Hou, makes the connection between Hou and Ruan, fixes up the bloodstains on the fan, and delivers it to Hou. It's almost like he's just orchestrating all of the action. He himself is never really involved, but without him, none of the action would have occured as it did. He could represent god, but that sounds, to me, like giving him too much credit.
5.) The sheer imensity of both of these plays seems just ridiculous at first, but after I thought about it for a little while, I realized I've spent as much time as these plays could take to be performed playing just one videogame. I recently completed a new one and was disappointed that it took me less that 30 hours to complete. Other games have taken some 50 hours to complete. Compared to that, 19 hours of theater seems nearly reasonable.