The old master was not wrong. Tao Bai Chen was indeed too arrogant. His performance was too modern; none of the intonations felt raw. It sounded too much like Modern Chinese. All the lines have been changed. The master got angrier as time passed, but he still did not say anything. He believed that the people who knew shadow play would be aware of this person’s level.
For example, at this time, Venerable Shao, who was in the VIP room, cracked a melon seed open and ate it. Of course, he had also commented on the performance of the first group: “This performance is just like a lump of feces. Where did they find this fourth-rate actor?”
Shao Nuo Yu’s special assistant spent five minutes understanding the program. He then explained to Venerable Shao: “Venerable Shao, this is a show filmed by Tianzi Television. Five famous actors are participating in it. Today, in this theater, they are shooting the first episode. Through the actors’ performance, the audience would vote for the winner.”
Venerable Shao felt that it was interesting and said: “Then we can also vote.”
The special assistant nodded, “That’s right, Venerable Shao.”
Venerable Shao smiled: “That’s good. I want to participate, so you should get me more tickets. I want to vote for my favorite performance.”
Special assistant: “Okay, Venerable Shao.”
Venerable Shao added, “Let Nuo Yu come and vote too.”
Special assistant: “….Yes.” Director Shao’s face was so serious as he cracked melon seeds open, that no one would dare look straight at him. It was too impressive. If it were seen by those aristocratic ladies who grumble all the time, they would definitely cover their faces and shout: “That is not the prince I want ah!” or “My prince is too down-to-earth, should I also nibble on a watermelon seed?” Today’s noble circle was not as traditional as it used to be. They did not have to follow unnecessary family rules, and they now keep up with the modern trends and use the Internet.
Tao Bai Chen’s performance did not receive much recognition from the audience. Nowadays, those who come to Pi Ying City to watch a play were divided into two: tourists and those who really liked shadow play. The traditional art, shadow play, was added to the classroom a few years ago. It became a simple course for students, which then made shadow play as a household “Chinese Opera”.
The second actor was Lu Zhong Ting. His performance was more interesting than Tao Bai Chen’s unconventional play; it was really more interesting. A selection from 《Water Margin》, Wu Song Fights the Tiger. Lu Zhong Ting could undoubtedly rely on his skills to eat, but God had also given him a beautiful face, so he was always a voice actor rated by the media through his face value. It was time to get away from that title. When his company suggested for him to participate in Director Teng’s 《Who Has That Good Voice?》 he had immediately accepted, thinking it was time to prove what he can do.
Lu Zhong Ting’s skills in shadow play were more or less the same with ordinary people. When he dabbled on it, he realized that it was difficult. During the day, he had actively asked for the master’s guidance while Tao Bai Chen was causing trouble. He even altered the place for his weaknesses, transforming it into an innovation that was well received by the audience.
A group of people sat behind the screen, waiting for the music to start. The people had then started to move. The Wu Song play was really difficult for Lu Zhong Ting who had not thoroughly understood shadow play. This morning, he practiced acrobatic fighting, but he seemed to have overexercised. It was only this afternoon that he could get up.
Lu Zhong Ting played Wu Song to the fullest. His momentum majestic. The “ah” sound that came from the tiger every time the animal was hit had really sounded genuine. Although his hand movements were slightly stiff, but with the sound effects, that small defect could be ignored. After the performance, the applause sounded much warmer compared to Tao Bai Chen’s.
Because the program team was afraid that the audience would be influenced by the actor’s reputation, after the performance, the actor had to go backstage. They were not allowed to go in front. The program team would only then announce the cast list to the audience after the voting results were out.
Next was Tang Wen Hao’s 《Monkey Subdues the White-Bone Fiend》. A selection from 《Journey to the West》. Tang Wen Hao was playing Sun Wu Kong, but it was slightly stiff. He was just like Lu Zhong Ting. The play was not too outstanding or too grand. The play was, to speak frankly, without any distinguishing feature. But the performance of the general content and the coordination of movements and sound were great, so the audience still liked his performance.
The next performer was Tian Zhen Yang, who had been an apprentice of shadow play twenty years ago. His thoughts were similar with Yan Mu Lin, which was not to select a play with martial arts, so he selected had the 《Cowherd and the Weaver Girl》. Naturally, he played the cowherd who was peeping at the seven fairies bathing. His play was filled with wit, and there were hilarious scenes occasionally. Particularly, when the cowherd was peeping at the seven fairies, the audience almost split their sides due to laughter. The movements were not stiff and the play was well-done. Good! Good!
Tian Zhen Yang wiped his sweat away at the backstage. Yan Mu Lin and his team members, who were preparing at the side, placed their props quickly. Preparation time was only three minutes, so while the host was stalling for time on the stage, Yan Mu Lin and his team were doing their preparations for acting and music!
Yan Mu Lin nodded to the people backstage, indicating to the lights and other experts that they were ready. The lights on the TV flashed, and the performance of 《Peacock Flying to the Southeast》 began.