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Fox Spirit

For over a thousand years, the fox has been a figure of mystery and imagination in Chinese literature and folklore. Foxes would often take human form, sometimes an evil old crone but most often they became young women with beauty, wit and kindhearted natures. A typical storyline might involved a fox foretelling the future or seducing a young scholar in the night.

Qian Yi during a reading of Fox Spirit. Photo credit: Leonard Porter

In this play seven short stories are told by a fox. She, or it, personifies the transformations of old traditions as they carry forward into contemporary society. Together the seven stories form a single narrative that reveals fragments of an artist’s life, the discovery of magic in the present and the power of ritual in an inconstant world.

Fox Spirit is currently in development.

an excerpt from Fox Spirit

I have a set of seven cups,
Beneath the eastern cloud.
Through so many wars,
The family survived, but lost
Fire, water, gold, wood and earth:
Elements once that made a home.

A set of seven cups,
Her dream, my spirit.
Hidden deep in the mountains are
Ancient ways hard to reach:
Joy, suffering, pain, loss, and hope.
So complicated, I’ve failed for years.

Once they were a complete set,
Blue sky, polished heaven,
Glazed, like the frosty moonrise
And fine, as a poem might praise.
Here are the ingredients.
Here, the stories. Here, strange feelings,
I never really owned anything.

Everything fades like blossoms.
White snow melts into spring sorrows.
Leaves fly away in autumn, like tea smoke.
Before the heart is the nature of the heart.
Before telling a story, there’s a song to sing.
Today, yesterday, the day before yesterday . . .
A fox arrives with some wonderful gifts.

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