Once again, we are giving you a firsthand view into our lessons, which are extensive and penetrative into the Chinese theatre, and, once again, if you have ideas for us or have knowledge for us please email or comment.
Today, we learnt about the use of colours, masks and makeup in Chinese theatre; how different colours represent different things which are both similar and contrasting to symbols that we would normally recognise in western theatre. For example, white colours represent an evil, hypocritical person in Chinese traditional theatre, whereas, in British theatre, white usually represents a pure character. There are other contradictions as well, such as black meaning a neutral person, whereas, normally we would recognise a character dressed in just black to be evil. Our masks are different to those used in china as well, as they were originally made of wood, most are now just makeup, whereas we generally use plastic or fabrics. We learnt about Chinese music, and how difficult yet amazing it is and how it can be used to transport us to a new dimension in theatre, giving us a sense of what is going on, plus a way of knowing the set and characters. We learnt more about the stage, how it resembles a typical Shakespearian thrust stage, with the audience sitting on both sides of the three front numbers in the lou (what we will talk about in our next lesson). We learnt about how the stage is formed from emails from you, readers and also from professors who study the Chinese opera.
picture from http://mymasks.wordpress.com