Posted by: travelrat | June 30, 2014

Theatre: Chinese style

Dumpling Dinner 3

Some time ago, I questioned the habit that some foreign-language phrase books have of including a couple of pages telling what to say at the theatre or cinema. I reasoned that, if you spoke the language well enough to understand what was going on, you should be able to buy tickets without recourse to the phrase book.

I was probably a bit hasty with that observation; there are several genres in which the words don’t really matter. I remembered that I’d been to the ballet in Germany; I do speak German, but, of course, language skills are unnecessary here. You just enjoy the dancing and the music. And, a couple of years ago, I went to see a performance of ‘Carmen’ in French. However, I was given a leaflet describing what was happening … I think there’s a word for it, but I can’t remember what it is.

It’s the same with Chinese theatre. We went to several performances during our stay. Some of them were included in the price of the tour; others were optional extras. But, we came away from all of them entranced and entertained, even though none of us spoke the language. We were, of course, given a synopsis of the plot, but most of it was purely visual.

We saw acrobatics, kung fu, ‘face changing’, light shows, puppetry and shadow play … but, more about these when I come to them in the blog.


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