I Have Lived for Eighteen Lives
3 players backstage in conflict;
The play is based on the concept of rebirth, a Buddhist belief that after the death of the body, the soul comes back to life in a newborn body. Thus logic of all the human relationship and behavior in the current life could be traced back to the previous one.
It starts with three friends, who are guitar players, having a severe argument before an important performance. However to solve the problem need tracing back to previous cycle of life, at which they owned each other.
|In the previous life, the three men, all angered at corruption of the Qing (1636 - 1911) government, met at frontier of the Wuchang Uprising in 1911, which started the Xinhai Revolution and led to the collapse of the last dynasty in China.|
|They fought together and the friendship could be traced to the life cycle even earlier.|
|70 years ago, at time of the Daoguang Emperor (1782 – 1850) of Qing Dynasty, they were father and sons of a martial art family. Since losing Opium War in 1840, China had been declining.|
|The father sent the elder son to Britain learning advanced technology while kept the younger boy at home to inherit the family tradition. The younger brother took revenge for his father, who was bullied by a foreigner, and was killed.|
|In early Qing Dynasty, two of the men were sworn brothers at Heaven and Earth Society, an organization aiming atoverthrowing the Manchu-led Qing dynast and restore the Ming (1368-1644 AD). They came to court to assassinate eunuch Zheng (the third man) and found the latter was also a member of Heaven and Earth Society.|
|In the prosperous Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD, a high point in Chinese civilization), an abject poet came to the lake and wanted to kill himself when he saw a desperate swordsman at the other side of the lake also trying to throw himself into it. The third man was then a beautiful Geisha, who was playing Pipa (a traditional Chinese music instrument) at lake. She saved the life of the two men with her song.|
|Time went back to the Three Kingdoms (220-265 AD), when each of the three fought for a single kingdom. They met on the way back home, becoming sworn brother at peach tree and swore to the sky they would be brothers forever.|
The various relationships in different eras of the three friends in a way reflect evolvement of Chinese history and culture, and life of Chinese people for five thousand years. With 3 actors, the play comes across 18 eras and dynasties with 54 stories and about 100 characters. It is a perfect combination of drama, comedy, live music and even martial art.