Pak-koán Theatre ‘A Bizarre Adventure at Xihe’ is a rare script about witchcraft, which consists of melodies from the ‘old style’ and sung in a historical dialect from northern China named ‘koaⁿ-oē’ (official language around 400 years ago). Characters are shown from actors’ hand gestures and eyes, and with props such as sword, fan, table or chair, they perform open door, get on a horse. Our thanks go to senior Pak-koán artists Hsiu-Ching Peng and young artist Ying-Ting Tung’s coaching, but also to the long-term support from Hsinchu Chenghuang Temple and Hsinchu Beiguan Art Troupe.
Today’s performance “Three Wizards and Their Treasures” is a highlight from ‘A Bizarre Adventure at Xihe’, depicting an imagined battle, in which Sung Empire was invaded by Prince of Tantan (an imagined foreign state), Kiang Thóng. Kiang Thóng was actually turned into a human from the spirit of a copper bell, owned by the God Jade Emperor. Sung Emperor sent General Hu and his army for defense, but all were captured by Kiang Thóng. General Hu’s son, Hu Lîn Pǎo, who was actually turned into a human from a white crane, was sent by his wizard master to help, equipped with three magical treasures: a magical mirror, a double-edged sword, and an unfailing arrow. On the way to Xihe, Lîn Pǎo was joined with two cousins, Kao Hong Pǎo and Ûi Iân Lông (turned into a human from a dog and a cat). With the help of yet one more treasure, the stealthy grass which makes the owner invisible, they successfully defeated Kiang Thóng, rescued General Hu, and Lîn Pǎo married the Princess of Tantan.