Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Crimson Spring review

My disclosure: I'm a member of Chinese Music Group promotion department.

Since the success of The Puppets in year 2009, CMG is back this year to present her annual production "Crimson Spring". Having the opportunity to catch this play on its premiere is of course another bonus.

The play opens into a nightclub in Shanghai set in the 1960s. It is a routine, part and parcel of this vibrant Chinese city. Dancers are an integral part of everyday nightlife, along with madam and club owners who hold everything together.

I must say, the beginning scenes may seem mundane. In a series of events, the audience is introduced to Xiao Yun, the blind flower girl, serving as a turning point, and set the direction for the play. Again, the flower girl is going through her everyday life, calling out wares.

Encounter of You Jia, owner of Crimson Spring with Xiao Yun turns the play out of the routine as viewers have seen earlier. Blindness of the flower girl is used as a powerful device to portray the essence of beauty, innocence and purity, shielded from temptations of the world. The encounter turns into a harmonic duet of a beginning romance, that was the highlight of the play before intermission.

Where the story 'kicks in' is the scene of Mo Gu facing consequences of her decision to flee from her former nightclub. In a series of events, the characters are drawn into the whirlpool of conflicts, painting a picture of the society: the diminishing law and order, the neglected familial love and the devaluation of romance, integratively sending a political message. The father and son duet speaks of helplessness arising from the setting. Xiao Yun, now in an altered circumstance, had the thematic of her blindness shifted to criticize naive idealism and corruption.

Crimson Spring drawn the audience into a world of principalities that engages with set values. The play features excellent scores of original music; it's the plot that takes some time to build up.

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