Here Comes the Dunce!
The chivalrous Man in Yellow, the broke bloke faking rich, the dunce with a heart of gold… He’s a jack of many trades but known and beloved as master of one – as the chou san, the clown. He added such breadth and depth to the comic in Cantonese opera that he raised it to an art form.
A Nanhai native, Leung Sing-po was born in Singapore in 1908 into a family of opera players. Leung was trained in Cantonese opera early in life, initially in the singing style of opera great Ma Sze-tsang and quickly acquired an outstanding repertoire of the basics. Landing a place in a troupe at 17, he later left for Hong Kong in 1939 and, at Ma’s invitation, joined the Taiping Opera Troupe. After the war, he joined the New World Opera Troupe, trading his lead roles at Taiping for the clown, a pivotal turning point in his career which eventually earned him the accolade, the King of Chou San.
Presenting the double Leung Sing-po attractions of The Dunce Attends a Birthday Party (1956) and The Dunce Gets a Son (1957), “Here Comes the Dunce” not only allows viewers to immerse themselves in a cinematic reverie on Cantonese Opera Day 2010, but is also a fitting tribute to the comic who had delivered a stream of inspired humor that flew from the opera stage onto the silver screen, bringing to audiences old and young the timeless gift of laughter.