Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (1999)

See the Classic Again at the end of the Century!



The Peach Blossom Land premiered in 1986, was revived in 1991 and made into a feature film in 1992. The premiere was a landmark event in Taiwan's developing modern theater movement, challenging audiences with its formal complexity, while welcoming them with its congeniality.

Created collectively through improvisational rehearsals led by Stan Lai
with ensemble including
Lee Li-chun, Chin Shih-chieh and Nai-chu Ding, 1986

CAST: Chin Shih-chieh as Jiang Bingliu
Xiao Ai as Yun Zhifan
Zhao Zi-qiang as the Fisherman, Tao
Ismene Nai-chang Ting as his wife, Chun-hua
Feng Yi-gang as the Fishmonger, Yuan
Ling Liching as Mrs. Jiang
Mei Ruoying as the Nurse
Zhao Peiming as “Secret Love” Director

Directed by Stan Lai
Scenic and Lighting Design by Alan Kuang-yen Nieh
Costume Design by Pamela Chin
Original Music by Fumio Itabashi and Kazio Umezu

Produced by Nai-chu Ding

Toured Cities: Taipei, Taichung, Chungli, Hsinchu, Kaohsiung


The Eternal Classic of Chinese Theatre

Secret Love for the Peach Blossom Land, the Performance Workshop’s second work, was an immediate critical and popular success. Two theatre groups are mistakenly booked into the same theatre for a dress rehearsal. One is to perform a melancholy contemporary play ”Secret Love,” about an elderly Taipei man’s yearning for his first love in Shanghai before the communist takeover. The other is rehearsing a farcical period costume ”Peach Blossom Spring,” based on the classic Chinese Utopian text “A Record of the Peach Blossom Spring.” As the two groups struggle for control of the stage, the two plays unfold in fragments. Slowly the tragic and comic, the contemporary and the classical, begin to interact, and seemingly opposite themes and performance styles blend to form new meanings, particularly in reference to Taiwan's attitudes toward the Chinese mainland, and the universal yearning for a “Peach Blossom Land.”.

Created collectively through structured improvisational rehearsals directed by Stan Lai, Secret Love for the Peach Blossom Land makes references to Peking Opera acting, classical literature and modern Chinese fiction, and has been acclaimed as a theatrical tour de force. Critic Liu Guang-neng hailed the work for its ”incredibly intricate structure” with ”deep layers of meaning” for the contemporary Chinese situation. The cast was a “who’s who” of contemporary Taiwan theatre, including Chin Shih-chieh, Lee Li-chun and Ku Pao-ming, who went on directly to star in Edward Yang’s film The Terrorizers, Liu Ching-ming, who went on to found the U Theatre Group, Yu An-sun, who had starred in Hou Hsiao-hsien’s The Time to Live and the Time to Die, the poet Kuan Kuan, and director Lai’s wife Nai-chu Ding, who also produced.

Soon after the play, the Performance Workshop was awarded the ”Outstanding Performing Arts Group of the Republic of China Award.”

The play has been collected in An Oxford Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama(1997), under the title Pining…in Peach Blossom Land. It was also made into a successful film version directed by Stan Lai that won several prizes at international film festivals under the name The Peach Blossom Land.

Script: Collective creation led by Stan Lai

Directed by Stan Lai

Creative Process Participated by Chin Shih-chieh, Nai-chu Ding, Kuan Kuan, Shih Hsin-hui, Chin Shih-hui, Lee Li-chun, Liu Jingmin, Ku Pao-ming, Chen Yuhui, You Anshun, Su Wanling

Cast: Chin Shih-chieh as Jiang Bingliu

Ding Nai-chu as Yun Zhifan

Chin Shih-hui as Mrs. Jiang

Shih Hsin-hui as Nurse

Kuan Kuan as Secret Love Director

Lee Li-chun as Lao Tao

Liu Ching-ming as Chunhua

Ku Pao-ming as Yuan Laoban

Scenic and Lighting Design: Alan Kuang-yen Nieh

Costumes: Pamela Chin

Produced by Nai-chu Ding

World Premier: 3/3/86 Taipei National Arts Hall

Toured Cities: Keelung, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung


The 1991 production of Secret Love for the Peach Blossom Land was the Performance Workshop’s first revival of its own work. Sold out for every performance in its initial 1986 run, the new production created an even greater demand for tickets, due to the addition to the cast of Mandarin film superstar Bridgette Ling (Ling Ching-hsia) in the role of Yun Zhifan. Among the audience at the National Theatre were President Lee Teng-hui and his cabinet.

This production also toured internationally, with performances in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. In New York, the performance was acclaimed as “the pinnacle of contemporary Chinese theatrical art.” Director Stan Lai assembled the cast for this revival with the purpose of using the same cast for the subsequent film production of the same work, which was seen at international film festivals under the name The Peach Blossom Land.

Script: Stan Lai

Directed by Stan Lai

Cast: Chin Shih-chieh as Jiang Bingliu

Ling Ching-hsia as Yun Zhifan (National Theatre and Hong Kong)

Hsiao Ai as Yun Zhifan (National Theatre 9/28, 9/29 and all other performances except Hong Kong)

Ling Li-ching as Mrs. Jiang

Chen Li-mei as Nurse

Ding Chong as Secret Love Director

Lee Li-chun as Lao Tao

Ismene Ting as Chunhua

Ku Pao-ming as Yuan Laoban

Li Wei-hui as Unknown Woman

Liu Liang-tso as Sunzi

Chen Chien-hsiung as Theatre Manager

Lin Li-chin as Peach Blossom Spring Scenic Painter

Scenic and Lighting Design: Alan Kuang-yen Nieh

Original Art: Chen Chao-bao

Costumes: Carson Huang

Costume and Image Consultant: William Suk-ping Chang

Produced by Nai-chu Ding


Special 20th anniversary edition of the Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land is honored to invite Ming Hwa Yuan, a well-known Taiwanese opera troupe. The combination between stage play and Taiwanese opera is another innovation of modern theatre in Taiwan. The play will then, indeed, depict two troupes, one rehearsing " Secret Love," the other "The Peach Blossom Land," who are forced to share a stage due to confusion about their rehearsal time. Their point joint performance on the stage creates the effect of "a show inside a show." Two different fields of performing arts performed together on stage, yet the production kept each form's originality. Two special performances on 11/12 and 11/13 at Taipei Arena breaks three more records of Chinese theater world: 1) The 100th run of Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land! 2) 1 million of audience members! 3) First performing group to perform at Taipei Arena.

Created collectively through improvisational rehearsals led by Stan Lai

Creative Process Participated by Chin Shih-chieh, Nai-chu Ding, Jni Shihui, Shih Hsin-hui, Kuan Kuan, Lee Li-chun, Liu Jingmin, Ku Pao-ming, Chen Yuhui, You Anshun, Su Wanling

2006 Peach Blossom Land Adaptation by Sun Furui

Directed by Stan Lai

Peach Blossom Land directors: Liu Guangtong, Chen Shengzai

Body Movement Direction by Liu Guangtong

Cast - Secret Love

Yin Zhaode, Chen Xiangqi, Xu Yanling, Lai Fanyun, Shi Yixiu

Cast - Peach Blossom Land

Chen Shengzai, Zheng Yasheng, Chen Zhaoxiang, Zhen Zhaowei


 
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