AS1606 06 Handout 2 *Property of STI Page 1 of 10 The Thrice-Promised Bride By Chen-Chin Hsiung The Thrice-Promised Bride is a Chinese Folk-Play. It was written last spring by Mr. Chen-Chin Hsiung, of Nangchang, China, in the course in Dramatic Composition and Production, English 31. It will be produced by The Carolina Playmakers some time this season, and will be published in the next issue of The Theatre Arts Magazine. The Playmakers, although interested primarily in the writing and producing of Folk-Plays of North Carolina, welcome such graduate students from other sections as may be interested in writing Folk-Plays of their own locality. Last season we produced a comedy of Colorado folk characters, The Berry-Pickers, by Russel Potter, who has recently come to us from Colorado. Mr. Hsiung came to America two years ago. He took the A.B. degree at the University of Wisconsin, and the A.M. at Cornell University. He came to Carolina primarily for advanced courses in the department of English. He expects to return to China in another year to have a part in the promotion of a New Theatre in China. The author of The Thrice-Promised Bride informs us that this play is based on a folk-tale of old China, told in various versions, to the Chinese children to teach them the lesson of filial piety and fidelity, and to impress them with the justice of their superiors. In the incident as it actually occurred, the first candidate for the maiden's hand was faithful and consequently, won a beautiful and virtuous wife. He has been engaged to the girl, the daughter of his father's friend before either of the children was born — a form of marriage contract not uncommon in China. All the three candidates were insignificant, un- romantic, common folks, who were brought to the magistrate's court because of their rioting in the streets at the time of the interrupted wedding of " the thrice-promised bride". The excuse of long separation by war, flood, or examination is a device in the Plot of many a Chinese drama. The author suggests that he has assigned the victory to the true lover, who, as in most Chinese plays or entertainments, usually wins out in spite of the customary adversities. He has drawn the characters from his own experience. Those of the mother and the magistrate are in ironical contrast: at the first, what seems benignant in the mother is really cruel; what seems cruel in the magistrate is really benignant in the end. Another Chinese play Mr. Hsiung wrote in English 31 last year, The Marvelous Romance of Wen Chen Chin, will be published in the next issue of Poet Lore. Mr. Hsiung has a charming sense of humor, and writes with a naiveté of imagination and a freshness of phrase which our young American playwrights may well emulate. We predict that he will play an important part in the making of a new Chinese Drama.