Chinese theatre lesson 3

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 Our masks are different to those used in china as well, as they were originally made of wood, most are now just makeup, whereas we generally use plastic or fabrics.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


6 responses to “Chinese theatre lesson 3

  1. It would be interesting if you could utilise the sound and atmosphere that chinese music creates when you are performing. Something like a physical theatre performance influenced by chinese music would be a very interesting experiment…

    • we have looked into delving into this part of Chinese theatre and we have decided we are going to use typical Chinese music that was composed for the butterfly lovers, and called the butterfly lovers, to add a sense of tradition and relevance to the performance. also, due to the lack of a lot of detail in the set, music plays a large part in how people recognize what is going on in the performance; as we can tell by the music if there is a chase or tension.

  2. Pingback: Corrections And Additions | KEGS Drama·

What is your view on this?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s