Homesickness on the Journey

(Tu bao qing qian)

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This is an adaptation of a story from the art of Nan Yin (the "Sound of the South"). Nan Yin is a popular musical form. It uses Cantonese dialects and local stories based on the melodies of the Mu Yu (wooden fish) and Dragon Boat styles. The most common subjects are folktales and love stories, particularly stories related to courtesans and brothels. They share similiar storylines and usually end in tragedy.

Courtesans were sent to special training schools when they were quite young. Families who sent their daughters to such schools were usually poor. They received a lump sum from the owner of the school, and the girls were required to work for the owner when they graduated. They usually remained in the house until they were old and no longer attractive.

The Nan Yin style is especially good at expressing the lives of these unfortunate girls. The catchy pop melodies are easy to follow, and the stories are widely known. This play depicts a prospective courtesan's feelings when she is on her way to the school.