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July 5th, 2003, 7 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.
Great Star Theatre
Saturday July 5th, 2003, 7 p.m. to 10:45 p.m.
San Francisco Great Star Theatre
Cast of Characters
(Director and Master: Leung Jhing, Bak Chiu Hong, Wong Chi Ming)
This opera play is a romantic comedy and a love story of a married couple.
The husband Chan Gwei Sheong is a scholar and a court official.
Chanís wife Lau Yuk Ngor is well known for being very beautiful,
highly intelligent and extremely jealous. Their marriage suffered because of Chan's
weakness for having a "wandering eye" towards beautiful women, and Lau's
over-powering personality, suspicious mind and jealous rage. This story is about
their relationship: how they live through numerous misunderstandings, trials and
tribulations, and finally reach a mutual understanding that they are truly in
love with each other. The story ends with a happy finale.
Scholar Chan Gwei Sheong was blessed with good fortune and was promoted to court official. Bored with his good fortune, Chan became restless and started flirting with other women. Knowing her husbandís desire for beautiful women, Lau Yuk Ngor had always kept a close eye on Chan. At the same time, for fear of his wife's jealous rage, Chan played it safe most of the time. On one occasion, Chan sneaked out while Lau was taking an afternoon nap. He and his scholar buddy, Su Dong Bor, seek out other women for comfort. Lau later learned of her husband's unfaithfulness. She punished him by making him kneel and balance a lamp on his head for the entire night.
Scene I: Jealousy and Vengeance
On the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, festivities were held in the palace by the emperor to celebrate the New Year with all the government officials. Celebration activities included solving riddles that were written on the decorative lanterns. Among Chan, Lau, and Su, Lau was by far the most outstanding in solving the riddles that others failed to solve, which put both Chan and Su to shame. The emperor awarded Lau with a royal jade coin, and she in turned, gave it to Chan, reaffirming her love for her husband in public.
Su felt so humiliated for losing to a woman that he numbed himself with wine. His drunkenness soon brought out words of sarcasm towards Lau. Lau, utterly displeased with Su's sarcasm, complained to the emperor, and insisted that Su be punished for his behavior. Being a man himself, the emperor could totally understand how Su must have felt after he was defeated by a woman. Although he sympathized with Su, the emperor had to penalize him with a monthís pay cut in order to please the empress.
Scene II: Secret Strategy
Chan and Lau were staying at home, enjoying their time together as a loving couple. Suddenly, Chan received an invitation from Su to go sightseeing at Yellow Mountain. At first, Lau was not willing to let her husband hang out with Su. But Chan reassured her that he would be at his best behavior and would not flirt with the other women. If he broke his promise, he would allow her to cane him. With that being said, Lau let him go. However, she secretly sent a faithful servant to spy on him.
Scene III: Falling to Temptation
When Chan met Kum Cho at Yellow Mountain, he was immediately bewitched by her beguiling beauty. Kum Cho told Chan that if possible, she was willing to become his concubine. Chan, shocked and overjoyed at Kum Cho's proposal, gave her the royal jade coin as the engagement present.
On the other hand, Lau felt insecure and followed Chan to Yellow Mountain, finding only a female handkerchief left behind. When Lau later learned of the whole story from her faithful servant, she stormed home furiously.
Scene IV: Jealousy and Rage
Chan returned home from Yellow Mountain to find his wife fuming, and she demanded that he return the royal jade coin. Since Chan could not explain the whereabouts of the royal jade coin, Lau caned him and made him kneel by the pond outside in the garden.
Su found out about Chan's beating and advised Chan to divorce Lau. The reason was that Lau had committed one of the "Seven Great Sins" for being a wife. Chan took Su's advice and drafted the divorce letter.
Lau received the divorce letter, but disputed that she did not commit any one of the "Seven Great Sins", and brought the letter to the local court to seek justice.
Scene V: The Lioness Roars
The court magistrate Kwei Yuk Sur, happened to be Lau's uncle. Kwei knew of his niece's jealous and spoiled temperament. He rejected Lauís appeal and ruled to allow Chan to marry Kum Cho as his concubine.
Kwei also happened to fear his wife, and his wife sided with Lau. Both men ended up kneeling in front of their wives begging for forgiveness.
Scene VI: The Happy Ending
After suffering much humiliation, Chan and Kwei made their appeal to the Royal Palace Court. The emperor, sympathizing with the men, also granted Chan permission to have a concubine. The emperor threatened to beat Lau and even give her poisoned wine if she did not comply. Lau, stubborn and proud, would rather die than to concur. Lau finally drank the poisoned wine that was granted by the emperor. Meanwhile, Chan was devastated and filled with remorse at Lau's suicide. He, too, wanted to die with Lau. Fortunately, the empress had ordered a eunuch to switch the poison wine with white vinegar earlier. Lau was unharmed. Through much trial and tribulation, both Chan and Lau realized how much they really loved each other.
At last, Chan and Lau reaffirmed their love for each other as husband and wife. Su and Kum Cho felt extremely remorseful for what they had done. Kum Cho was granted a royal pardon, and she was allowed to return home to seek for her own love and happiness.
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