About This Clip
King Qi’s Dream
King Qi’s Dream is an adaptation of King Lear performed in the Beijing Opera style and directed by Ou Yangming.
In an ancient Kingdom there lives an old king. One day announce a big decision to divide his kingdom into three parts for his three daughters to govern. His two elder daughters agree with their father and so they obtained their land. But his youngest daughter gets no land for she opposes his idea. Years later the two elder daughters drives their father out, making him wander in the wild. His loyal subjects, Kun Fu and Xue Ying (his youngest daughter), saves his life. He wants to take back his power and kingdom but it is too late for one of his officials has taken over the power to rule the kingdom.
Commentary on King Qi’s Dream
Filial piety is one of the core values of Confucianism. Traditional Chinese theatre has a strong moralizing tendency and many of its plays preach filial devotion. Transgression against filial piety is considered a fundamental sin in Confucian culture, and it demands sensitive handling when publicly staged. Analyzing three plays from traditional theatre’s repertoire—The Clear Breeze Pavilion (also called The Retaliation by Heavenly Thunder), The Story of the Wall, and Birthday Greeting by Five Daughters—four techniques are identified as being used to mitigate the shock of unfilial children: (A) providential retaliation (B) comedy and farce (C) scapegoating, and (D) the “grand reunion.” While hewing to King Lear‘s storyline, King Qi’s Dream uses comparable tactics to transmute Shakespeare’s tragedy into a didactic play of Chinese opera.