Old Tradition, New Experience, Small Theatre, Cantonese Opera, New Editing and Reconstruction of Classics to Attract Young Audiences

  Co-produced by the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Arts and Guangzhou Cantonese Opera House, the Cantonese Opera "Hu Bugui·Fianniang", a new small-scale theatre newly created by the Guangzhou Cantonese Opera Troupe, recently premiered at the Southern Theater, arousing heated discussions among the audience.

According to industry insiders, small theater opera has become a new direction for the development of current opera.

  Text/Guangzhou Daily All Media Reporter Zhang Suqin

 Small theaters have more modern aesthetic features

  The traditional classic Cantonese Opera "Hu's No Return" was created by Xue Juexian and other famous Cantonese opera actors in the late 1930s.

  The newly-edited Cantonese Opera for a small theatre, Hu Bugui·Fianniang, is a practice of traditional adaptation, transformation and promotion by the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Arts and the Guangzhou Cantonese Opera House.

The play was written by Chen Jianzhong, the screenwriter of the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Arts, Li Man, director of the Art Research Center of the Guangdong Provincial Institute of Arts, and Chen Songfu, the young creative talent of the Guangzhou Cantonese Opera House. Co-directed by Wu Yehua, and co-created by many creative talents of Guangzhou Cantonese Opera House.

  On the basis of retaining the story direction, character relationships, and basic characteristics of the traditional Cantonese opera "Hu's No Return", "Hu Wugui·Fianniang" digs into the inner emotional logic of the characters' behavior and the modernity of the subject matter.

Adapt a story that criticizes feudal pedantic filial piety into a work that is more in line with the contemporary audience's understanding of conflicts between mother-in-law, husband and wife, and mother and son, providing the audience with more space for thinking and discussion.

Humanistic care and female perspective are the themes of the play.

  "Hu Bugui · Frowning Mother" is presented on a minimalist and freehand stage, emphasizing drama and life at the same time.

Because the small theater pursues a more delicate expression and pays more attention to shortening the sense of distance with the audience, the play also borrows some performance methods from the drama during the performance to make the performance more fulfilling.

At the same time, it also draws on the picture language and the use of light and shadow of film and television to make the play more modern aesthetic characteristics.

  While retaining the traditional charm of Cantonese Opera, it integrates modern aesthetics. As a small theater opera, "Hu Bugui·Fianniang" does not blindly seek novelty, but makes an article from the word "play" to enhance the drama and expressiveness of the story. resonates with contemporary audiences.

Helps attract more young audiences

  Small theater theater was originally a concept of the Western theater movement in the 19th century, also known as experimental theater.

The small theater movement played a key role in the development of Chinese drama in the 1990s.

Inspired and influenced by this, there has also been a series of opera creations and performances closely related to the stage space of small and medium-sized theaters—small theater operas.

At present, small theater opera has become a new direction for the development of opera.

  "Small theaters have fewer staff, light weight, and are experimental and exploratory at the same time. Compared with large theaters, small theaters have a higher degree of freedom and tolerance. Small theater operas will help attract more young audiences to enter. The theater understands traditional art." Wang Wei, the producer of "Hu Bugui·Fangniang" and director of the Guangdong Provincial Art Research Institute, believes that the form of Cantonese opera in the small theater is flexible and convenient, and it can be performed and communicated in a wider area, which is conducive to promoting Communication of Cantonese Opera.

  Traditional Chinese opera performances started from Goulan Washe, which has a spatial form suitable for small and medium-sized theaters.

The freehand, virtual, and stylized artistic features of opera are also adapted to the aesthetic principles of small theaters. Therefore, the birth of small theater operas can also be understood as the “return” of Chinese operas in a contemporary sense.

Hua Lihong, chairman of Guangzhou Cantonese Opera House, one of the producers and producers of "Hu Bugui·Fangniang", said that he hopes to find a new way by creating a small theater model, and create more projects that are conducive to Guangzhou Cantonese Opera House's follow-up going out. s work.

 Unification of traditional charm and contemporary innovation

  In fact, Cantonese opera in small theaters has become a trend in recent years.

  In 2018, produced by the Red Line Girls Art Center, Guangzhou Hongdou Cantonese Opera Troupe cooperated with Xixi Xixi Opera Culture to create a small theater experimental Cantonese opera "Wusong".

The play is written by Li Man, directed by Ni Chao, and starring Chen Zhenjiang and Li Jiayi.

  On the basis of traditional literary images, "Wu Song" starts its narrative with Wu Song's "revenge for his brother".

On the basis of retaining the traditional performance techniques such as Cantonese opera singing and Southern style martial arts, and using montage, multimedia intervention and other artistic presentation techniques, we strive to achieve a high degree of unity of inheriting the traditional charm of Cantonese opera and the innovation of the times.

  Another small theater Cantonese opera "Golden Lotus", starring Jiang Wenduan, winner of the China Plum Blossom Award and a national first-class actor.

In 2020, the play was widely acclaimed when it participated in the 7th Beijing Contemporary Small Theater Opera Festival, which caused great repercussions in the industry.

  The play uses a way of interweaving dream and reality, showing a strong avant-garde drama concept and mode of play as a whole, and its experimental nature is impressive.

"This drama can be positioned as a psychological drama," said Chen Yunsheng, the screenwriter of the drama.