The New “Dream of the Red Chamber” Cast Dances on Water in Shanghai

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As if they haven’t thrown enough money into this project (50,000 yuan per episode, for 50 episodes) the production behind Li Shaohong’s upcoming Dream of the Red Chamber prepared a water and lights ballet version of the drama that was performed October 3-5 to coincide with the mid-autumn moon festival, in Silver Pickax Lake in Changfeng Park, Shanghai. It featured bursts of lights, water and fire surrounding the actors as they danced above the lake. The show will be performed again for the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Clip of the part where Baoyu realizes he got tricked into marrying the girl that he doesn’t love.  If someone does find the whole thing, please tell me!

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The show took advantage of the  leads’ dancing background. Yang Yang, who plays older Baoyu is from the PLA Academy Dance Deparment and Jiang Mengjie who plays Lin Daiyu is from the Beijing Dance Academy. The actual show should begin airing early in 2010, around Chinese New Years. While it’s definitely generating buzz, it remains to be seen if the show can generate a positive reception, since i the costumes and hair  is still a point of heated argument with purists. Or, as one relative of mine put it – “They looked like they crawled out of the crypt”. But nevertheless,  even if they are sporting operatic hairstyle, it’s still a step up from the Qing Dynasty hair that the novel’s adaptations should have, but never seem to want to use. Any new versions of Huang Zhu Ge Ge should take note from that.

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Li Shaohong really likes using water. For the press conference of this series  that was held around the time of the previous mid-autumn moon festival I think (since this series has been in production for ages and ages), the actors went down the river in boats to meet the press, and even that was gorgeous.  Even if everyone looks pale and near death in this series, I’m sure it will still be beautiful. I can’t wait to see it.

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And for those who don’t like the outfits…here’s a picture of the cast, near water out of costume: They’re so young and tiny!

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Some Baoyu/Baoyu. Older Baoyu is like what the heck?

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13 thoughts on “The New “Dream of the Red Chamber” Cast Dances on Water in Shanghai

  1. Ahh, well the coin-laced hair is probably something that you have to get accustomed to. At first, I didnt really like it either but as of now ~ I dont mind it too much anymore. As for the makeup, I always thought the paleness of their skin kind of added to that very suffocating dream like feel of the whole thing so I have knock against that. Personally though, I really love the actual costumes of the the series. They really do look great ~ You can tell they put alot of time and effort into them, opposed to your standard mass-produced period drama costumes that you see in way too many Chinese period dramas. Speaking of casting unknowns, funny how they cast the little girl from the Olympics ~ Lin Miaoke in a small role. I think its probably more to boost ratings than anything else but who knows

  2. i’m soo excited for this. Even though the makeup and hair are getting a lot of crap I appreciate it as a bold/fresh approach. It may not be accurate but the director is, after all, an artist and I’m loving the aesthetics. The palette and details are beautiful!

  3. I think it’s really not so much the costumes that people really hate…it’s the hair and makeup, and they do all seem on the verge of dying, which people did not like back before modern medicine. Looking sickly = very unattractive back then. I’m holding off opinion until I see how it works in this version though. There’s a very dreamy quality about it, which you don’t see in many tv series, and it’s very intriguing and different.

    Overall I’m in love with the casting because it’s how I always felt these classics should be cast (with newbies or unknowns), but I agree Billy…I just don’t see the need for younger Baoyu…and he looks especially out of place after he hit his growth spurt and went over 6ft tall during filming.

    Nor do I really like Older Baochai, Bai Bing,..because she looks older than the rest, but I guess I’ll live. Otherwise the cast looks so cute and adorable off-screen.

  4. @msx/Billy
    the girl’s coin-laced hairs were so terrible, though.

    There is the standard of beauty, but not like that. Most Asians will admire whiteness in Asian skin, but they will also balk at someone who walks around with plaster all over their face. Simply put, it doesn’t look good.

    This is the Dream of the Red Chamber, and people have more expectations for it than for others.

  5. Im not sure why so many people are complaining about the costumes.. I think they look absolutely fantastic. As for Qing men’s hair…. though the Dream of Red Chamber was written during the Qing, it never explicitly said during what period it was sent and most of the paintings and even TV adaptations have always set it during the Ming. In fact, I’ve never seen a Dream of the Red Chamber where the men had Qing style hair. My only knock right now is the casting ~ Older Baoyu doesnt really match with Younger Baoyu IMO. I dont know, I guess the fact that Younger Baoyu is taller doesnt help,haha

  6. Regarding complaints of white make-up on the performers, isn’t a white complexion the standard of beauty for Asians?

  7. I don’t see any reason to criticize the appearance or makeup of the actors, especially since it’s 100% more aesthetic than the look of Qing fashions. Really, the image of the Qing male is just plain ugly and promotes negative stereotyping of Chinese men.

    Hopefully, China will produce more dramas with pre-Manchu aesthetics.

  8. The Baoyu’s are so cute. Older Baoyu’s smile is so beautiful in the first pictures. I can’t wait to see more from the cast. They’re so gorgeous.

  9. The girl’s hairs are also quite annoying in this version…

    And the use of color and light in general in this drama makes it a bit darker in general.

  10. i’ve always hated the way men’s hair were in the Qing dynasty so i’m quite glad with what they’ve done so far even if it’s in the operatic style. I think it gives off a very authentic and dreamy aura but others may just think it’s old looking haha i seem old when i typed that.

  11. It is the hair…but I don’t think anyone who can’t pull it off is bad looking. It depends on head shape. But the Manchurian hair for guys is just really, really unflattering either way.

    And the girls aren’t too bad off, but it’s not the best look either.

    And yeah, the makeup does seem to be one of the biggest critiques of Li Shaohong’s version – they look like death, but it’s all very dream-like. Can’t tell if it’s going to help or hinder the series until we actually see it.

  12. I think it’s just the Qing dynasty guys’ hairs that are the problem – the female hair is like consistent for like centuries, or pretty much with not much changed. But I think I’ve seen so many (Qing) historical dramas that their hair does not bother me anymore, though I have noticed taht some ppl look a lot better than others. Conclusion: if you’re good-looking enough you’ll pull it off regardless.

    And, they all look like freaking zombies. Is that like a CAKE of white stuff they put on their faces? It must be horrible (for their skin) to wear… think of what would happen if it got a little too warm.

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