Fri, Aug 06, 2004 - Page 17 News List

The measure of a classic is its age

`Sleeping Beauty' is a fairytale that has been told for centuries, testament to the power of the story about life after death

By Diana Freundl  /  STAFF REPORTER

Dafeng Musical Theater brings to the stage its version of Sleeping Beauty.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DAFENG MUSICAL THEATER

Sleeping Beauty has endured scores of theater, dance and animated adaptations and the Dafeng Musical Theater re-awakens the classic fairytale once again on the stage of the Sun-Yat-sen Memorial Hall in Taipei.

It's not the first time the theater troupe has performed the show in Taipei, but it could be their last. Dafeng script writer Lian Yi-chou (連乙洲) plans to finally put the princess play to rest after this weekend's performance.

"It's one of our most popular works and it's always fun to perform, but we also want to work on other projects," Lian said.

Recognized as the first successful ballet composed by Tchaikovsky,

Sleeping Beauty is likewise, the first script produced and written by Lian for the Dafeng theater company. It was while he sat watching the ballet rendition with his daughter that Lian was inspired to apply Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky's score to his own reworking of the story. The outcome was the theater troupe's premier performance in 2000, in Taipei.

"There are so many versions, ballet, storybooks and the Disney animation. Parents and their children are familiar with at least one of these. Even adults can feel like kids again when they watch it with their children. It's a perfect family show."

In his adaptation, Lian said he places more emphasis on the relationship between the beautiful princess and her mother. His story also concentrates on the heroic figure in the story and his transformation from a clumsy fool into a brave prince.

Following its 2000 premier, Sleeping Beauty was shelved and Dafeng moved on to perform other well-received productions including Butterfly Lovers and Merchant of Venice. A few years and several plays later, Lian revamped his original script and brought it back to Taipei, in January this year.

"After four years we [Dafeng Theater cast and crew] were more experienced in doing large shows and so we talked about doing our first production [Sleeping Beauty] again. But this time I wanted to make it more lively for the audience," Lian said.

Apart from a complete rewrite, additional changes included more animated choreography and a new score composed by Ran Tien-hao (冉天豪). The latest rendition uses the same script and music, however, because of the larger venue, it will be performed as a pantomime with lots of opportunity for audience participation.

The scenes might be different, but the actors are the same with renowned stage personality Wang Po-sen (王柏森) cast as the prince playing alongside his princess Hong Rei-hsiang (洪瑞襄). Also appearing in the show are Dafeng regulars Cheng Bo-ren (程伯仁) and Chiang Yi-rei (江翊睿), both of whom last appeared in earlier productions.

Lian said it is a show the whole family can enjoy. Interested parents , however, will have to act quickly, as tickets for all three performances are nearly sold out. At time of writing more than 75 percent of the tickets were sold out.

Performance notes:

What: Dafeng Musical Theater's mandarin production of Sleeping Beauty

When: Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm, with Saturday matinee at 2:30pm

Where: Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall

(國父紀念館) at 505, Renai Rd, Sec 4, Taipei (仁愛路4505).

Tickets: NT$300 to NT$1,100 available at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall box office or online http://www.ticket.com.tw.

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