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The Lioness' Roar

"The Lioness' Roar" is a well-known 30-scene comedy of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It tells the story of a jealous, abusive wife, Liu Shi. Her subdued husband, Chen Jichang, could never take a concubine or even enjoy some happy moments with other women. Chen seeks help up and down, just to find all the guys henpecked, including the judge in a court and the god in a shrine. His final rescue comes from the King of Hell, who puts Liu in the hell and tortures her. Liu changes her behavior after she is released from the hell.

The heroine of this drama, Liu Shi, plays a special role-type in Kunqu theater: the 'sleeves-rolled-up female role' (qiao xiu dan). Throughout the play Liu has her long sleeves, which are used in Kunqu theater to show delicate feelings, rolled up as a demonstration of her perpetually belligerent nature.

Gui Chi (Kneeling by the Pond)


Su Shi invites his friend Chen Jichang to a Spring banquet with beautiful courtesans attending. The revel is discovered by Chen's wife Liu Shi, a very beautiful but extremely jealous and ill-tempered woman. The next day, she scolds Chen and makes him confess his disloyalty. In addition to beating and cursing her husband, she orders him to kneel in the courtyard, by the side of the pond. While Chen is complaining about his misfortune, Su Shi drops by to pay him a visit. When Su Shi sees his friend being punished for having had a good time with him, he feels obliged to rescue Chen from the abusive Liu Shi's grip. He goes to see Liu Shi trying to persuade her to forgive her husband, only to get himself a good beating and insults from the outraged "Lioness"---Liu Shi.

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