Pacific Cinderella a collaboration between young artists from Los Angeles and Hangzhou China
Opening to Script of Pacific Cinderella
The story of Pacific Cinderella is a metaphor for coming-of-age not just for the individual but for our global community. It is a story of hope.
Pacific Cinderella is a journey that begins before the production itself is realized; where young people from two arts high schools separated by an ocean not only share their indigenous theatrical traditions but also share their common popular traditions.
The Perrault story of Cinderella is predated by a Chinese fairy tale entitled, Ye Xian. Whether these stories found common ground through the shared eperience of an evolving world or through the meandering of oral storytelling, their similarities suggest common experiences and indeed a cultural sharing through storytelling and traditions long before the word “global” took on a value for our modern world.
These stories are the perfect platform to express the commonality of our modern cultures. Loosely told, they speak to greater metaphors about our ever-evolving world, our youth, and the value of art in our global community.
In Pacific Cinderella, we follow two girls who discover a kinship with the characters of Ye Xian and Cinderella. Indeed, their personal lives seem to mirror the fairy tales.
Moreover, because all of the performers are from arts high schools, the coming-of-age story is a greater metaphor for the discovery of art and a blooming through collaboration.
As with all fairy tales, struggle and strife eventually find harmony. More importantly, through art there is harmony.
Masks will help delineate between fantasy and reality while at once allowing us to blur metaphor and truth.
Act One follows both characters in parallel universes as we focus, primarily, on the story of Ye Xian.
Act Two focuses on the story of Cinderella whilst moving us through the next plot point in both stories…the announcement of the ball (or dance in the Ye Xian story)
Act Three (the ball) is told through the prism of Chinese Opera using the Yueju form. Since Yueju is an opera form that continues to evolve and is an amalgam of past and present traditions in addition to local and foreign traditions, it is the perfect opera form for Pacific Cinderella’s third act, not to mention, exciting as a cultural exchange.
Act Four completes the two fairy tales and joins them in a common happy ending, mixing song and dance styles and new aestethic traditions (pop music and dance). It is a celebration of youth and their future world.
Series of black scrims. These are hung at various points on the stage. Scrims allow for scenic changes and movement in a more discreet fashion. Projections become dimensional with the layering of scrim.
Instrumental combos will sit on either upstage side.
A set of school desks sit upstage center. With the occasional, moveable desk that can slide in and out of the scenario rather quickly, significantly, for Ye Xian and Cinderella.
The production will move between classical music from both Western and Eastern traditions and popular music that our teenage performers share in common.
The students in our show will wear school uniforms of a similar color perhaps one color is Chinese, another, American.
Act 1 – Ye Xian
A black void.
A number of girls enter spinning clocks along with Ye Xian and Cinderella who are downstage.
Dream music. An ethereal and melodious sound of Guqin emanates in the black void. It is the melody of Chinese Guqin Classic, “Jiangnan.”
As the girls dreamily spin about the clocks…
Time and coming-of-age dance
…they move into a dance (to Pachelbel’s canon?), an ode to anticipating their coming-of-age. The other girls “mirror” Cinderella and Ye Xian but in sidelight.
End of Dance all girls look out at the audience.
Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
Lights fade out on other girls leaving only Ye Xian and Cinderella on either side of downstage.
2 teachers appear either side of the stage.
Once upon a time there were two young women.
The lived far apart…miles and miles away…
A great river flowed between them…
A projected river, or a river of fabric, appears.
They each dreamt of other lives – of love, of fulfillment,
of dreams realized.
They lost themselves in stories and fantasies and of cultures other than their own.
Of all the stories, one story resonated in both their hearts
A school bell rings.
Students cross with their desks, teachers appear with books which they pass out to the students.
As the Chinese students collect their books, they sit. They open them. The Chinese teacher coaches them to express the title and they state…
Ye Xian and Cinderella each take a book from their teachers and begin to read.
2 desks appear. The girls sit.
We begin at the beginning. The story of Ye Xian…
(in Madarin- English translation floats on the black scrims)
Long ago a man named Wu was a cave chief of southern China. As per the custom, he had two wives. Both wives gave him a daughter. One of the wives got sick and died. Shortly after the wife’s death, Wu died.
Imagery appears. A mountain landscape, a wooden house.
Students begin to move in slow motion.
A large knitting ball, rolls on stage
The 2 teachers put on a scarf (wrap), transforming to mothers, knitting.
2 chairs appear onstage (left and right)
The Past (separation and moving forward)
Mother (Chinese Teacher)
The thread in the hand of a kind mother
Is the coat on the wanderer’s back.
Before he left she stitched it close
In secret fear that he would be slow to return.
Who will say that the inch of grass in his heart
Is gratitude enough for all the sunshine of spring?
—–( The Wanderer’s Song – Meng Jiao)
The thread in the hand of the loving mother
The Er-hu plays a doleful song, underscoring the poem.