Leg­endary ac­tress keeps learn­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By CHEN JIA in Mil­pi­tas

Stage drama fans in Sil­i­con Val­ley will get a blast to the past — to China’s Qing Dy­nasty (1644-1911) to be pre­cise — with this weekend’s per­for­mance of Stun­ning Beauty at the Cu­per­tino Flint Cen­ter.

Look­ing still in her 20s, the 1950s born fa­mous Chi­nese ac­tress Liu Xiao­qing will star and is ex­pected to fire up the box of­fice.

“Ev­ery au­di­ence, ev­ery per­son is in­her­ently fond of the new and tired of the old and per­form­ers must meet those needs,” Liu said at a press con­fer­ence on Thurs­day.

“That’s what I am striv­ing to do. It is part of my na­ture. I like in­no­va­tion and I like to do some­thing which hasn’t been done be­fore,” she said. “I have Sil­i­con Val­ley spirit — in­no­va­tion. I have been at the fore­front of ev­ery re­form tide in China.”

She is on a US tour with her play with stops in Los Angeles, San Fran­cisco, Hous­ton and New York from March 29 through April 20 and a to­tal of seven per­for­mances of Stun­ning Beauty will be staged.

Stun­ning Beauty, also called The Leg­end of Sai Jin­hua, tells the story of a fa­mous cour­te­san whose mar­i­tal life in­flu­enced China’s diplo­matic re­la­tions with for­eign coun­tries in the late Qing Dy­nasty.

As a leg­endary but very con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure, her in­ter­ac­tions with do­mes­tic and for­eign ac­quain­tances have been ren­dered in many dif­fer­ent ver­sions in nov­els, plays and movies.

On and off the screen, Liu is some­thing of a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure her­self. She was one of the leading ac­tresses in China in the 1980s, later be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­woman in the 1990s.

In 1999, she be­came one of the rich­est people in China, ap­pear­ing at No 45 on Forbes’ list of the 50 rich­est Chi­nese busi­ness people.

Liu re­turned to act­ing in the mid-2000s and Stun­ning Beauty is her lat­est stage role.

“Ev­ery time I ac­cept a new project, I think it is chal­leng­ing and within my reach, I can also make a new im­pres­sion on the au­di­ence,” Liu said.

As an his­tor­i­cal drama, Stun­ning Beauty uses both hu­mor­ous and force­ful lan­guage with a so­phis­ti­cated and in­tri­cate plot to bring to life the el­e­gant times of Sai Jin­hua.

In Au­gust of 2012, Stun­ning Beauty was well re­ceived in Tai­wan and the show has played to sold-out au­di­ences on the Chi­nese main­land. In 1975, Liu was an ac­tress in the Chengdu Mil­i­tary Re­gion and got her first chance to be in a movie. She played a sim­ple fish­ing girl in a movie called The Great Wall. The three movies The Lit­tle Flower, Wed­ding and What a Fam­ily made Liu fa­mous in Chi­nese movie cir­cles.

The three dis­tinct char­ac­ters not only proved her ver­sa­til­ity but also earned her the honor of best sup­port­ing ac­tress at the Hun­dred Flow­ers Awards.

“In the be­gin­ning, I didn’t know how to act, as I never stud­ied act­ing at an academy. My act­ing train­ing is an on­go­ing process,” she said.

Thanks to the sup­port of her fans, she said she’s had many op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn from her mis­takes and fur­ther im­prove her skills. “So I was able to per­fect my­self in movies and plays one af­ter an­other,” she said.

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