Chinese Opera: The Actor's Craft
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Chinese opera embraces over 360 different styles of theatre that make one of the richest performance arts in the world. It combines music, speech, poetry, mime, acrobatics, stage fighting, vivid face-painting and exquisite costumes. First experiences of Chinese opera can be baffling because its vocabulary of stagecraft is familiar only to the seasoned aficionado. Chinese Opera: The Actor's Craft makes the experience more accessible for everyone. This book uses breath-taking images of Chinese opera in performance by Hong Kong photographer Siu Wang-Ngai to illustrate and explain Chinese opera stage technique. The book explores costumes, gestures, mime, acrobatics, props and stage techniques. Each explanation is accompanied by an example of its use in an opera and is illustrated by in-performance photographs. Chinese Opera: The Actor's Craft provides the reader with a basic grammar for understanding uniquely Chinese solutions to staging drama.
Beheading of a Wicked Husband, Peking Opera The beloved Judge Bao from the eleventh-century Song dynasty can be counted upon in Chinese opera to bring impartial justice and to right the wrongs of the downtrodden. In one opera, he removes his official’s hat and holds it out in a gesture that the opera audience reads as determination. He has heard a terrible story of an abandoned wife and child who demand justice. Even though the culprit abandoned them to marry into the imperial family, Judge Bao
tempered with hope that sooner or later the emperor will return his affections to her (see Photo 5.32). Photo 5.33 The Story of the Purple Hairpin, Cantonese Opera In another opera, the young wife Huo Xiaoyu, having learned that her husband has taken another wife, is in distress. Rather than extend her sleeves in sorrow as Zhu Yingtai does at the tomb, she folds them up around her face in deep despair (see Photo 5.33). Photo 5.34 The Story of the Wooden Hairpin, Gan Opera Despair can become
black paint around his eyes. This indicates his fear as he tries to protect an infant prince from the plotting of a concubine who is suspicious of him (see Photo 6.03). Photo 6.04 The Haunting of Zhang Sanlang, Sichuan Opera A simple method of face changing involves a mask that is kept on by biting down with the teeth. The young maiden Yan Xijiao uses this technique in the opera The Haunting of Zhang Sanlang. She cannot give up her beau even though she has died. She returns wearing her mask to
米曉敏、高亞林、常香果 1986 5.36 粵劇 桂英告廟 廣東粵劇院 焦桂英 鄭麗品 2006 5.37 龍江劇 雙鎖山 黑龍江龍江實驗劇團 劉金定 白淑賢 1991 5.38 京劇 鍘美案 天津青年京劇團 包拯 孟廣祿 1990 5.39 粵劇 再世紅梅記 香港仟鳳粵劇團 李慧娘 南鳳 2005 5.40 京劇 李逵探母 屯門實驗粵劇團 李逵 尚長榮 1992 5.41 粵劇 樓台會 香港仟鳳粵劇團 梁山伯 吳仟峰 2005 5.42 京劇 張飛敬賢 上海京劇院 張飛 尚長榮 1992 5.43 贛劇 孟良搬兵 江西省贛劇團 孟良 李維德 1992 5.44 粵劇 逃出金山 廣東粵劇院 許仙 李湛平 (司馬祥) 2006 5.45 潮劇 無意神醫 廣東潮劇團 張無意 方展榮 1991 5.46 河北梆子戲 蘭陵王 河北梆子戲劇團 蘭陵王 裴艷玲 1992 5.47 河北梆子戲 武松血濺鴛鴦樓 河北梆子戲劇團 武松
Peking opera pheasant tails Phoenix Terrace Fortress (2.18) (3.06) (4.03) photographs and photography Pi Jin Plays the Fool (6.18–6.20) (6.21) Picking Up the Jade Bracelet (2.03) (2.04) “playing the dwarf” (technique) polearm poles, boat, see boat poles poses Prime Minister of Wei, The (2.12) (5.27–5.29) prisoners props Qian Jin (rich maiden) Qian Yulian (wife) Qianlong emperor qiba (move) female male Qiba (“The Hegemon Rises”) Qin Qiong (general) Qin Qiong Observes the