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Fri 23 Jan 2004
The Disappearing Masks
Category : Commentary/operamasks.txt
It's Chinese New Year (恭喜發財) and I'm watching this performance on the TV where the dancers, who were wearing Chinese Opera masks, were changing them so quickly, on stage. I've seen Kabuki (or was it, Noh) performances where they changed costumes in one breath-taking moment, but the speed with which that was done could be said to be stately, when compared to this. One moment it was blue and then it was red, and then it was some other colour, and then it was no more. Quite magical and quite difficult to see how it could have been done.
I was told that the technique was some sort of a state secret in China and even Andy Lau, the Hong Kong artiste, was rebuffed when he tried to learn how it's done so that he could use it in his shows.
So, I wanted to learn more. Just a couple of tries with Google and I got the information I was looking for. Here is the story about Andy Lau and the Sichuan Opera Mask. Shows that, maybe, the most important skill in our age is to learn how to frame a question, or how to ask the right questions, because there are so many answers that you can pull in from the web, without leaving your couch.
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