'Trump' raises red flag in Cantonese opera

12 April 2019 - 67   - 0

A hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend: Donald J. Trump has a long-lost Chinese friend.

Dressed in a black suit, an unmistakable blonde wig and an extra-long red tie, "Trump" is leading a Cantonese opera troupe during a rehearsal in Hong Kong.

n this absurdist drama dubbed "Trump on Show", audiences watch a mish-mash of current and imagined events including the US president's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

A 26-year-old Trump also looks for his twin brother "Chuan Pu", a transliteration of his name in Chinese, during a fantastical trip to China alongside former American president Richard Nixon, who plays ping-pong with Mao Zedong.

It begins with the current first family moving into the White House.

Ivanka Trump finds Mao's "Little Red Book" -- a collection of the late communist leader's quotes and ideology -- full of her father's handwritten notes, triggering a flashback to Nixon's famous diplomatic tour of China in 1972.

The sold-out show opens Friday and runs for four days at the Sunbeam Theatre, Hong Kong's famous Cantonese opera house.

The centuries-old art form usually features ancient Chinese stories and legends, but the latest show gives the genre a modern twist.

- Narcissistic characters -

"Donald Trump is the most topical person in the world, while Cantonese opera is a forgotten and waning art form. If we can write about him in a play, it will definitely help attract people's attention to the culture of Cantonese opera," said Edward Li, the opera's playwright.

He believes the tweeter-in-chief's fame will rescue the traditional musical theatre.

Li said Mao and Trump share similar traits, namely narcissism.

"Seventy-two-year-old Mao Zedong started the Cultural Revolution. Seventy-two-year-old Donald Trump is also creating a US cultural revolution. What's a cultural revolution? That's when one person overturns all the political systems," Li told AFP.

The feng shui master-turned-playwright revealed he rewrote the script at least 10 times to keep it fresh.

The US-China trade war and the controversial arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou were both worked into the plot.

Playwright Edward Li hopes Trump's fame will fame will rescue traditional Cantonese musical theatre

The story also pokes fun at the leaders -- Trump orders take-out every day and drinks 12 bottles of Coke, while Kim knows how to make Swiss cheese fondue.

Trump is played by Loong Koon-tin, who also handles the roles of Mao and Trump's fictional Chinese twin brother.

Backstage, "Ivanka" helped her father with make-up and hairstyling. Within 15 minutes, "Mao" was transformed into "Trump".

"The division of different characters is a challenge. You have to let them (the audience) know who you're playing when you appear on stage," said Loong.

Li released "Chairman Mao" three years ago, the first installation of his Mao trilogy.

After Trump, the second play, he plans to conclude the series with a story about Mao and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping.

He said he has big ambitions for the Trump opera.

"My future goal is to perform in front of Trump and have Trump applaud."

Loong Koon-tin plays the US President in the absurdist Cantonese opera "Trump on Show.


  Comments - 0

  • Leave a comment

Top Stories

Lorry, van collision leave 17 injured ; two critical

Two persons are in a critical condition after an accident involving a lorry and a van in Anuradhapura left 17 persons including two children injure...

17 July 2019 - Views : 1

Public Utilities Commission and Moratuwa University to create low income housing model

17 July 2019

Showers and heavy winds in the south-west until July 19 : Met. Dept.

17 July 2019

Nine year old killed in collision between petroleum bowser, bicycle

17 July 2019



Features & Analysis

Car-free day draws a crowd

Colombo’s first open street concept day saw residents reclaiming their streets from Green Path to Independ...

Reviving our island spirit - #DineEscapeRebuild

The Island Story, a brand new travel company with a fresh perspective on travel is collaborating with Botanik Rooftop...

Huawei shutterbug competition "Beautiful Sri Lanka" ends on a high

Huawei recently organized a competition for shutterbugs under the theme "Beautiful Sri Lanka" The w...

Hidden coral reef discovered off Kankasanthurai harbour

A diving team attached to the Northern Naval Command recently discovered a beautiful coral reef which remained a well...