NAGA | MADAME WHITE SNAKE | GILGAMESH
SEP 10 - 17, 2016
Naga is the story of a young Monk who renounces everything to find nirvana. The White Snake encounters him as he is saying goodbye to his wife. The couple’s grief moves her and she longs to experience such powerful emotion. The Monk encounters a demon, who tempts him three times. The Monk resists the first two attacks, but his resistance weakens during the third. The White Snake stops him from turning back and leads him to a renowned healer, who takes him in as an apprentice. When the Master discovers the White Snake, he recognizes her magic - she is the answer to his prayers for the salvation of the world; anyone who eats of her will be healed. The Monk, however, believes that she should be free so the universe will have beauty and uniqueness. The Master orders him to hold the White Snake so he can sacrifice her. In the ensuing struggle, the Monk releases the snake and the Master is stabbed.
MADAME WHITE SNAKE
Madame White Snake, the 2011 Pulitzer prize winning opera, is the story of a white snake demon who longs to become human to experience love. She transforms into a woman, meets Xu Xian, a mortal man and marries him. But she is afraid to disclose her true identity. She encounters the Abbot of the Golden Mountain Monastery who recognizes her for who she is. The Abbot sows the seeds of doubt in Xu Xian’s mind and gives him a “truth potion” which re-transforms Madame White into a snake. The Abbot spirits Xu Xian away and the White Snake raises the waters to drown the Abbot to get him back. A great flood engulfs the world as she is defeated by the Abbot after giving birth to a son.
Ming, the half-demon son of Madame White Snake, is a character closely related to the Sumerian demi-god “Gilgamesh.” Ming was abandoned during his mother’s epic battle with the Abbot. He encounters his mother for the first time in her human form while she is imprisoned by the Abbot in the Golden Mountain Monastery. She reveals his birthright - the power to control the waters and begs him to use this power to save her. Ming returns home to find that his wife has just given birth to a white, iridescent baby girl who resembles her grandmother. He gives the baby to the green snake, who had saved him when his mother was defeated. He returns to the Monastery. A robe and empty alms bowl are all that are left. Ming dons the robe, takes the alms bowl and leaves.