Green-eyed snake

In a new stage adaptation of the Green Snake, the virtuous Madame White Snake must vie with her sister for human love

By Andrew C.C. Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Thu, Jul 25, 2013 - Page 12

Green Snake (青蛇) , the smash theater hit produced by China National Theater (中國國家話劇院), is a wild departure from its original source.

Legend of the White Snake (白蛇傳) narrates the romance between the demon White Snake and the handsome human scholar Xu Xian (許仙), as well as the quest of monk Fahai (法海) to break up the forbidden love. It’s a chaste romance, and Green Snake is strictly not.

“This is a story about seduction,” Tian Qinxin (田沁鑫), the play’s director, told the Taipei Times in a phone interview.

Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Hong Kong novelist Lilian Lee (李碧華), Tian’s play turns the spotlight to Madame White Snake’s faithful companion, Green Snake, who also craves human love — and sex.

Jealous of the relationship between White Snake and Xu Xian, Green Snake is willing to forsake her immortality to steal him, leading to a disastrous romantic triangle. White Snake seduces Xu Xian to save her marriage, while Fahai seduces Xu Xian in an attempt to break up the taboo marriage. The play unfolds like a psychological drama, filled with anger, lust and temptation.

Chinese thespian Qin Hailu (秦海璐), who has won three Golden Horse Awards, takes the leading role of Green Snake in a sultry performance that was well-received in China and Hong Kong.

The cast also includes actress Jin Ge (金戈) as Lady White Snake, Dong Chang (董暢) as the handsome male scholar Xu Xian and Xin Baiqing (辛柏青) as the monk Fahai. There are three shows from Aug. 9 to Aug. 11 at the National Theater Taipei. Performances are in Mandarin, with Chinese and English subtitles.