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October 24, 2007 > Malan Flower: Keeping Values

Malan Flower: Keeping Values

By Anuja Seith
Photos By Lena Zee

Malan Flower, a musical children's fairytale filled with classic stories and intercultural values, was held Oct 13-14. The production has been held annually for three years, and is a revised version of the original drama enjoyed by Chinese, Japanese, and Russian children over 50 years ago. 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 in the United States, and has now accomplished this dream, making the production a part of this year's firecracker season performances. "The director wanted to introduce a Chinese fairytale to western hemisphere for love of art and Chinese culture," said Leena Zee, a board member of Academy of Chinese Performing Arts, who translated the Malan Flower script into English for this year's English presentation of the show.

Malan Flower conveyed the message that honesty, diligence and generosity are rewarded when Bitty Bird, Pudgy Bear, Baby Fawn and Squirmy squirrels were allowed to make wishes at the Malan Flower Festival because they followed a healthy lifestyle.

The play also balanced characters of virtue with those of bad morals in order to convey the overall moral message within the play. Characters Lord Malon (Zenon Anderson) and Xiaolon, Lord Malon's wife, (Angela Chan) were the paragon of virtue, wisdom and generosity. While, Dalan, Xiaolon's elder sister (Monica Chen), conspired against her sister in order to get the luxuries she wanted from Lord Malon's house. Alicia Perusse of the Children's Theater at San Jose State University, who played Creepy Cat, also added a satanic touch to this Eden when contrived to possess the magical flower and contributed to Dalan's jealously against her sister.

Zee called this musical drama a "labor of love" and "gift to the western world," in a world rife with sex, drugs and violence on T.V. and video games. Chen, who founded Bridge & Gate productions 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 symbolize the tradition of a whole family breaking a nut together during Christmas. Chen and Su-hwa thought of Malan Flower as a family tradition and epitomized it with "firecrackers," which Chinese burn to welcome their new year.

According to Zee, Malan Flower was isan Flower wascrackers, which while rder to convey the overall moral message with in the play. from over 50 years ago. the first part of a firecracker season, while the second segment that will be held as lunar New Year approaches in January, is a combination of Chinese performing arts. The allegory is an effort to present an opportunity to children of all ages to learn about Chinese culture. For more information about upcoming performances for the Firecracker Season, call (510) 683-0921.

Dance Performance: A part of Firecracker Season
Saturday - Sunday, Jan 5-6, 2008
Sat: 7:30 p.m.
Sun: 2:30 p.m.
Santa Clara University-Mayer Theatre
500 EL Camino Real, Santa Clara
(510) 683-0921

Tickets: $30, $25 (general) and $20 (students)

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