Chinese Theatre Lesson Two

In our second lesson, we elaborated on our knowledge of the butterfly lovers, discovering how the characters within it can be related to traditional, Chinese stock characters, such as the Sheung and Jing. We discovered how the Lou diagram can be used to portray a character’s inner effigy and base character, and their reactions with other characters, based on the 9 elementals of Chinese theatre, such as fire and water. From our new knowledge of Chinese theatre, it was clear to see that it was both intricately similar and immensely contrasting from our own, British theatre. For example, the narrator (and correct us if we are wrong) traditionally stands at the back. We had a go at trying to portray the main stock characters, but with a limited knowledge, it was difficult. Through this exercise, we found how some of the characters (e.g. the clown/chou) are similar to our own, and, perhaps, what we recognise instantly as the clown, people watching Chinese theatre would recognise as the clown also. This was one more step towards forming more links with China, and discovering more about Chinese theatre.


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2 responses to “Chinese Theatre Lesson Two

  1. I am based in Shanghai as a building designer working on projects across China. I have had opportunity to see first hand Beijing Opera. and what you have described very much reflects Beijing Opera. I hesitate to suggest this is representative of the wider Chinese traditional theatre. China is a mass of different cultures and traditions. It is like trying to group together the whole of European theatre under one name!
    Beijing Opera is suffering at the moment. In a nation dashing to catch up with the Developed World, it sees too much of its unique traditions as old fashioned and inappropriate for a forward thinking society. As a result much of what is being presented on stage in Beijing is largely just highlights from selected operas for the tourists. The storylines and the traditions of the characters seem to be being lost.
    Thus there is the interesting debate about how to engage a modern society in the relevance of its historic culture.

  2. Pingback: Corrections And Additions | KEGS Drama·

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