Tiny per­form­ers a hit in clas­sic snake leg­end

China Daily (USA) - - CHINA - By ZHANG XINGJIAN zhangx­ingjian@chi­nadaily.

A new pro­duc­tion of the clas­sic drama Lady White Snake has at­tracted at­ten­tion due to cer­tain at­tributes of its per­form­ers: They are all be­tween 6 and 12 years old.

With the help of new tech­nol­ogy and good-look­ing per­form­ers, the up­dated Lady White Snake of­fer a vis­ual feast to au­di­ences.

The leg­end— which tells the love story of snake-turned-hu­man Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian — was first adapted as a TV se­ries in 1992 and per­formed byHong Kong ac­tresses Angie Chiu and Ce­cilia Yip. The Tai­wan-pro­duced show achieved huge suc­cess, lead­ing to con­stant re­runs by do­mes­tic TV sta­tions ev­ery year, un­til now.

“They are just in­cred­i­ble. When I see the lit­tle Xu Xian cry­ing for the loss of Bai Suzhen, my heart broke,” saidWeibo user Xrain­days.

The chil­dren’s ver­sion of Lady White Snake was pro­duced by a pro­gram called Xiao Xigu, which means small artists, and fea­tures chil­dren in the roles of clas­sic char­ac­ters from Chi­nese lit­er­a­ture and folk­lore.

“En­hanc­ing chil­dren’s in­ter­est in tra­di­tional Chi­nese cul­ture and let­ting young artists set an ex­am­ple for a ma­jor­ity of chil­dren are the orig­i­nal in­ten­tions of set­ting up the pro­gram,” said Pan Lip­ing, gen­eral di­rec­tor of Xiao Xigu.

Xiao Xigu has suc­cess­fully reshot many pa­tri­otic TV se­ries in­clud­ing Red Guards on Honghu Lake and The White-Haired Girl. The film Liu San­jie has al­ready re­ceived more than 100 mil­lion hits on­line.

Given the tremen­dous pop­u­lar­ity of Lady White Snake, the group of lit­tle artists jumped into the spot­light.

Ten-year-old Tao Yixi, the fe­male lead, now boasts more than 50,000 fol­low­ers on Sina Weibo.

Yet many par­ents have ex­pressed con­cern that early fame may ex­ert some neg­a­tive in­flu­ences on the chil­dren’s growth.

“It re­ally sur­prises me that the av­er­age age of th­ese chil­dren is 7. In­deed, they have done a good job in the per­for­mance. But I won­der if they can re­ally un­der­stand the­com­plex emo­tions be­tweena snake and a per­son,” com­menter ChenQi­ulin wrote on­line.

Ac­cord­ing to the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Press, Pub­li­ca­tion, Ra­dio, Film and Tele­vi­sion, China’s top me­dia watch­dog, young celebri­ties are un­der tight con­trol when par­tic­i­pat­ing in var­i­ous TV shows.

It also said that the con­tent of such pro­grams should be up­graded to­ward pro­mot­ing pos­i­tive so­cial en­ergy in­stead of vul­gar­ity.

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