On the afternoon of June 3rd, the 12th Session of Yada Academy Lectures & Talks with the theme of “Chatting Lady White Snake on Dragon Boat Festival” was held at the Lecture Hall of Yada Academy at Yangxian Xishan. Mr. Kong Jie, TV producer, director and host, gave a vividly lecture on Lady White Snake’s story based on the origin and development of the legend.
The session was chaired by Co-founder of Yada Academy Mr. Yang Kui. According to him, almost everyone heard about the story of lady white snake at childhood, but had no deep knowledge on details. Dragon Boat Festival had close relationship with lady white snake. Yada Academy invited Person of The Year 2021 Theater China Mr. Kong Jie to chat about lady white snake on Dragon Boat Festival. He expected audience to wipeout conceptual image, explore more on the vivid literary character and learn the beauty of literature related.
The session began with the water ink animated cartoon White Snake Legend. It gave a brief review on lady white snake’s story in public understanding, recalling the memory related to her image.
Then Mr. Kong Jie introduced the image development history of lady white snake proved by experts. According to him, it could be traced back to the passage Li Huang in Natural Bizarrerie Record by Gu Shenzi in Tang Dynasty as the earliest. In Ming Dynasty, Mr. Hong Pian collected the Song Dynasty script for story-telling Stories of Three Towers in West Lake into his Qingping Mountain Hall Script. In this book, the image of lady white snake still followed the past stereotype that a monster tempted and killed men. Till the publishing of Lady White Snake Suppressed under Leifeng Tower Forever by Mr. Feng Menglong in his Stories to Warn Men, the image of lady white snake had new development.
On the activity site, Mr. Kong Jie recited a part of Lady White Snake Suppressed under Leifeng Tower Forever, performing her sadness and helplessness vividly.
The story of lady white snake did not only appear in literature, but also in talking-singing art. Mr. Kong Jie talked and sang a part of Newly Organized Eastern Type Story of Leifeng Tower and White Snake, bringing the appeal of different art forms to the audience.
Traditional opera is one of the important expression forms for Legend of Lady White Snake. Mr. Kong Jie gave a detailed introduction on the theater script development of Lady White Snake Legend, from Leifeng Notes by Mr. Chen Liulong in Ming Dynasty to Leifeng Tower Legend by Mr. Huang Tubi in his Kanshan Pavilion Edition in Qing Dynasty. According to Mr. Kong Jie, the existing transcript of Leifeng Tower Legend during the reign of Emperor Qianlong was the reorganized version by the well-known Kun Opera performers Mr. Chen Jianyan and his daughter in Yangzhou. This version had an outstanding contribution for it arranged the plot creatively, and gradually became the classic one. In 1943, Mr. Tian Han followed the main content of the past, integrated folk literary from storytelling, and modified three plots in his Jin Bo Story. Since 1953, Peking Opera Lady White Snake Legend has been refined into 16 scenes.
During the lecture, Mr. Kong Jie selected and played several highlights of Peking Opera Lak Tour, Transformation after Drunk on Dragon Boat Festival, Water Power Match and A Couple of Bowls as well as Shaoxing Opera and Wu Opera Broken Bridge. He explained the artistic characteristics of different operas in simple language and presented unique figures in Wu Opera Broken Bridge, leading the audience to imitate the theater actor’s movement and feel the artistic charm of opera.
In addition, Mr. Kong Jie introduced three characteristics of Chinese opears, namely comprehensiveness, virtuality and stylization performance in detail. Referring to national cultural confidence, he said, the improvement of cultural confidence was based on profound understanding and insight into national excellent traditional culture. By continuous study and comparison, one could feel the distinguished charm of Chinese culture and art. Comparing with western stage art, Chinese opera has larger stage space, unique expression method and artistic appeal.
As a theater culture disseminator, Mr. Kong Jie expected Yada Theater of Yangxian Xishan could offer an exceptional Legend of White Snake in Yada version integrating various kinds of operas in next Dragon Boat Festival.
For spreading excellent traditional culture more widely, Yada Academy used live streaming to broadcast the Lecture & Talk online synchronously. Nearly 2000 online audience learned the story of lady white snake and Chinese traditional opera art. The Session was held on the day of Chinese traditional festival – Dragon Boat Festival. Yada specially selected the cultural allusion which echoed the theme of festival, and thoroughly interpreted its development course in the field of literature and opera in the way of chat, bringing an in-depth ideological journey as well as refreshing holiday culture enjoyment to the owners, local residents and traditional culture lovers.