Peony Pavillion

Kenneth Pai

Kenneth Pai (Pai Hsien-yung / Bai Xianyong) has been described as a "melancholy pioneer." He was born in Guilin, Guangxi, China at the cusp of both the Second Sino-Japanese War and subsequent Chinese Civil War. Pai's father was the famous Kuomintang (KMT) general Pai Chung-hsi, whom he later described as a "stern, Confucian father" with "some soft spots in his heart." He was diagnosed with tuberculosis at the age of seven, and during which time he lived separately from his siblings (of which he would have a total of nine). He lived with his family in Chongqing, Shanghai, and Nanjing before moving to Hong Kong in 1948 and Taiwan in 1952.


Pai went abroad in 1963 to study literary theory and creative writing at the University of Iowa. That same year, Pai's mother, the parent with whom Pai had the closest relationship, died, and it was this death to which Pai attributes the melancholy that pervades his work. After earning his M.A. from Iowa, he became a professor of Chinese literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has resided in Santa Barbara ever since. Pai retired from UCSB in 1994.

Crystal Boys (1983; English translation, San Francisco: Gay Sunshine Press, 1990), tells the story of a group of homosexual youths living in 1960s Taipei largely from the viewpoint of a young, gay runaway. Other famous works include Fallen Immortals (1967); Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream (1968; English translation, Indiana Univ. Press, 1982); Taipei People (1971; Chinese-English bilingual edition, Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong, 2000); and Lonely Seventeen (1976). Bai’s works have been translated into English, French, Korean, Japanese, German, and other languages.

A higher proportion of Pai's work has been turned into films, TV or stage plays than almost any other contemporary Taiwanese writer. Stories works as Jade Love, The Last Night of Taipan Chin, Crystal Boys, and Wandering in the Garden, Waking from a Dream are recognized classics of Chinese-language fiction.

Regardless of whether he was writing creative works in Taiwan or teaching Chinese literature at UC Santa Barbara, Pai’s love affair with Kun opera has never weakened. He was involved in two prior productions of Peony Pavilion, in 1983 and 1992, but those were abridged versions of the original opera. For this version, he took on the task of creating an adaptation that is suited to modern tastes and yet remains faithful to the original opera, including all the traditional performance practices of kun opera.

白先勇,當代作家廣西桂林人.國民黨高級將領白崇禧之子.在讀小學和中學時深受中國古典小說和\"五四\"新文學作品的浸染.童年在重慶生活,后隨父母遷居南京,香港,台灣,台北建國中學畢業后入台南成功大學,一年后進台灣大學外文系.1958年發表第一篇小說《金大奶奶》. 1960年與同學陳若曦,歐陽子等人創辦《現代文學》雜志,發表了《月夢》,《玉卿嫂》,《畢業》等小說多篇. 1961年大學畢業.1963年赴美國,到愛荷華大學作家工作室研究創作,1965年獲碩士學位后旅居美國,任教於加州大學.出版有短篇小說集《寂寞的十七歲》,《台北人》,《紐約客》,散文集《驀然回首》,長篇小說《孽子》等.白先勇吸收了西洋現代文學的寫作技巧,融合到中國傳統的表現方式之中,描寫新舊交替時代人物的故事和生活,富於歷史興衰和人世滄桑感.