Monkey: The journey to the West

The Journey to the West can be compared to, ‘The Wiz’ or ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ This lengthy, beautifully contrived play/opera shows us the journey to enlightenment and peace. It is a spiritual journey to overcome obstacles no matter how difficult they may seem. When buddha is reached then comes knowledge and understanding and the journey ends.

monkey king

The Monkey King traveled in a group of four pilgrims that all played a purpose in the trip to enlightenment.  They were, The Monk Tripitaka (virgin boy), a Mongolian Kung Fu pig named Pigsy, a dragon Prince that took the form of a white horse, and a water monster that appeared to be a Starfish.  The White Horse was dressed in white leggings that were brushed with strokes of white paint. He wore boots, a horse head mask, a saddle on his back with a tail on the saddle. Tripitaka wore all white a dark orangish- tan monk cloak and a monk head piece accompanied by with an ivory satchel bag.   The water monsters costume was a big red starfish guise. He had to waddle when he walked across stage and his arms stuck out on both sides like an oversized diminutive. The Monkey King’s character wore an off- yellow sweat suit with cropped pants and a  deep red stripes down the thigh and arm. It was paired with light tan leg warmers and gold dance shoes.



The construction of each piece for all nine scenes were crafted with great precision.  The hands of Jamie Hewlett took us deep into the journey of the Monkey King story.  We swam in the ocean in Scene 2 Crystal Palace of The Eastern Sea and the Iron Rod.   There was a purple octopus with eight legs and the bubble head, sea urchins wore small red guise, The livery that caught ones eye were the: sea turtles they wore purplish-green turtle suits.  In Scene 3  We ate  heavenly peaches  in  The Heavenly Peach Banquet  the audience was in awe with the peacefully, serene set.  The contortionists  eloquently twisted and stretched like acrobats into non-yogi positions. We fell in love with their movements through their adorned  white body suits swirled with a black design, hugging ever inch of their curves. The wire-hanging angelic women sang high notes while drifting around in layered chiffon flowing maxi dresses.  Each women was draped in a different color.

heavenly peach banquet


Scene 6 The White Skeleton Demon took us there. The audience felt like  they woke up in a pit of hell. The dancers swarm around in white skeleton body suits with prodigious monster masks.  The disheveled hair and painted details on the duds screamed Skeleton-creepers.


Scene 8 Volcano City (Princess Iron Fan)  Princess Iron Fan is a beautiful Goddess, she wore a layered coat. The first later appeared to be a jacket made out of traditional chinese silk printed fabric. The under layers were longer than the length of the outer layer. They appeared to be crinkled silks and chiffon pieces. She wore a belt around her mid section. Her fan was special because it was constructed from banana leaves honing magical chattels that create GREAT whirlwinds.


Last but not least, scene 9 Paradise is when they reach buddha. This scene was phenomenally-cute. Their are a plethora of quaint women that gently perambulate around in green and pink dresses. Marked with delicate flower- pyramid decorations. They hold miniature pink fans that twirl above their heads. This scene opens the audience and relieves them.  Between the beauty of the characters clothing and the relief that the play has ended. Scene 9 allowed the performance to end on a high note.



Throughout the performance,  as the scenes changed the attire matched the vibrant colors and elaborate particulars embedded in the Set.  Costume Designer, Jamie Hewlett played more roles than costumer. He was the artist,animator, and set designer as well. Hewlett was responsible for outfitting Acrobats, Martial artists, and contortionists, clack rope walkers, and aerial ballet dancers.   He strongly completed every task at hand in a creative and innovative way. Hewlett’s attention to detail made a 2-hour performance with no intermission captivating by the wardrobe alone.

Acer Image


*** Photos via other source***


Posted By: Jo bell



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