The famous Chinese "Legend of the White Snake" is about the beautiful and bizarre love between a man and a benevolent white snake sorceress, their love forbidden by the laws of heaven.
Over the years it has evolved from a horror story to a romance and has been presented as Peking and other operas, films, TV series and Japanese animation. Now it has been turned into a dramatic, multimedia stage play by the award-winning Italian dramatist, Giacomo Ravicchio.
A wonderful story about love between two races - human and animal - which courageously reveals to us that love transcends race, sex, culture and religious differences. This thinking seems progressive even by today's standard, since certain kinds of love can still be viewed as taboos in many countries.
The legend tells of a handsome young scholar Xu Xian who falls in love with a beautiful woman Bai Suzhen, who is actually a white snake demon. She has taken on human form to do good deeds. She too falls in love with him, they marry, open a medicine store and live happily. Fahai, a sorcerer monk is strongly against the union between mortal and demon. He tries to save Xu's soul by revealing Bai's true identity in front of Xu - he sees her as a large snake in their bed. He dies of fright, but is brought back to life. The monk then imprisons Bai in a deep well under the Leifeng Pagoda in what is today Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province.
There is also the Green Snake, Bai's soul sister and confidant, who transforms herself into a woman to help Bai. In the end, however, Xu remains deeply in love with Bai even after he realizes that she's actually a snake.
Author, director, designer: Giacomo Ravicchio
Composer: Jérôme Baur
Production at Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre , July 2009