The Peasant Prince is a child friendly adaption from Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cinxini, an autobiographical rags to riches story about a child who is born and raised in rural China. Through chance and luck, the boy makes his way to some of the highest ballet circles in the world. The play uses a lot of imagery from Cinxini’s picture book, also titled The Peasant Prince, based on his memoirs.
“A lot of the dialogue six years old and up should be able to understand quite clearly, however adults very much enjoy the show as well. They find it very moving and engaging. They’ve done a fabulous job with the sets and lighting, there are movement sequences and choreography. It’s written in such a way you’ll find layers of meaning. We’d love school groups to come and see the show,” said John Gomez Goodway, who plays Li Cinxin.
“Tim McGarry, the director, got in contact with Cinxin… and asked if Monkey Baa [the production company] could adapt it. Towards the end of the writing period [Cinxin] came down and worked the script with them. He was very much on board with the process,” explained Goodway.
“The personal challenges have been playing a real person, to do it respectfully and maintain integrity with his life story, portraying him in a way that he would approve of, so he would give me the nod and say, ‘yes you got it’, which thankfully he did,” Goodway revealed.
Cinxin was away from his family from the age of 11 and supported them while they were living in poverty, but he was very lonely. He overcame such hurdles while he was going up the ranks, working hard to achieve his dream. Stories like that can change you and make you think. The Peasant Prince will be sure to inspire audiences across Australia as they embark on quite an extensive tour. (MS)
Patron’s Advice: Ideal for 6–12 year olds. This performance features smoke and fog effects.
Apr 27–30, various show times. Glen Street Theatre, corner Glen Street and Blackbutts Road, Belrose. $21 ($75 family pass). Tickets & info: glenstreet.com.au or 9975 1455
BY MEL SOMERVILLE