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October 9, 2007 > Blooming Malan Flower

Blooming Malan Flower

A dip into an enchanted world of Chinese Culture

Submitted By Anuja Seith

Snow-White, Rumpelstiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Goldilocks and Cinderella have lulled children across the world to sleep. These stories are simplified versions of ancient tales, with didactic meanings and teachings within them. One such story from across the ocean is Malan Flower. This fairytale of Chinese origin opens a world of dreams and benevolence; preaching virtue and goodness to tender minds.

For sixty years, it has been a favorite of not only Chinese children, but Japanese and Russian children as well. The story is a beautiful tale that Ren Deyao, a renowned Chinese children's playwright wrote in 1955. Years later, the Academy of Chinese Performing Arts in Fremont made a musical adaptation of this fairytale. David Chen, director of this musical drama had long nurtured a vision of bringing a fresh fable to kids living in United States, and now for three years the academy has successfully presented the charming parable.

"The director wanted to introduce a Chinese fairytale to western hemisphere for love of art and Chinese culture," says Leena Zee, a board member of Academy of Chinese Performing Arts, who translated the script into English. This year's show is in English as it was felt children would understand the humor and meaning better.

Blooming Malan Flower conveys the message that honesty, diligence and generosity are rewarded. Zee calls this musical drama a "love of labor" and "gift to western world," in a world rife with sex, drugs and violence on T.V. and video games. Chen, who founded Bridge & Gate production with Prof. Yao Su-hwa of UC Dept. of Performing Arts in 1992, wanted to bring oriental culture to an occident universe through the younger generation. So, Su-hwa conceived the firecrackers, which sound similar to nutcrackers which symbolize the tradition of a whole family breaking a nut together during Christmas. Chen and Su-hwa thought of Blooming Malan Flower as a family tradition and epitomized it with "firecrackers," which Chinese burn to welcome their new year.

According to Zee, this lyrical composition with edifying messages is the first part of a firecracker, while the second segment that will be held as lunar New Year approaches in January as a combination of Chinese performing art. The allegory is an effort to present an opportunity to children of all ages to learn about Chinese culture. "This performance is a meaningful family fun event for Chinese born here and other vast majority of people who have little or no idea about Chinese culture," says Zee.

As Malan Flower blossoms, enjoy this mellifluous performance which takes you to the forest of Mt. Malan, home of Grandpa Tree, Mama Doe and her Baby Fawn, Pudgy Bear, Honey Bunny, Squirmy Squirrel, a troupe of monkeys, and their neighbor Old Papa Wang, a poor farmer, and his two daughters.

Blooming Malan Flower
Saturday and Sunday, Oct 13-14
2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.- 9:30 p.m.
California Theatre
345 S. First St., San Jose
(510) 421-6666
Tickets: $100 (VIP), $50, $35, $25 (General) and $ 20 (Student Group)
For more information call Leena Zee (510)-421-6666 or visit

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