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Peking Opera Analysis

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How would an actor prepare to successfully portay the role of the Dan in the traditional Peking Opera play „The Drunken Beauty“?

The Peking Opera, one of the traditional chinese theater forms is considered to be one of the cultural treasures of China that arose in 1790, when a drama troupe, known as the Sanqing troupe, from southern Anhui firstly performed a musical combination in Beijing at emperor Qianlong’s eightieth birthday. Peking Opera grew and was particularily popular in the Qing Dynasty. „Although Peking Opera itself is not particularly ancient...Peking Opera presents the climax of the nation’s rich and colourful theatre tradition“, that revolved around stories, impersonation, and relationships among the characters (Mackerras). Peking Opera grew and was particularily popular in the Qing Dynasty. „It comes to no suprise that in the heyday oft he boy actors early in the nineteeth century, most performances on stages of Beijing were civil theatre, with boys playing the roles of women. Today, the main performance troupes are based in Beijing, former Peking, Tianjin and Shanghai. However, it is also performed in other countries, such as the United and Japan. Peking Opera unifies music, vocal performance, mime, dance and acrobatics under the influence of Cheng Changgend (1811-80), also called the the „father of Peking Opera“. „The China National Peking Opera Company (CNPOC) is one of the national ensembles of performance arts directly affiliated with the Ministry of Culture, People’s Republic of China.“ Young actors aspiring to become part of a well-establishe Peking Opera company, such as Chinas National Peking Opera Company, usually train at the Peking Opera School. A peking Opera school student usually train...

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...this was a movement not done by well-bred upper class chinese woman in the olden days.
The hua dan uses props such as a red handkerchief, which is held in the characters hand and fluttered around for flirtatious purposes. Because she is not virtious, her singing is gayer and louder than that of the other dan characters in Peking theater.

Costume
The K’u Ao is a costume that consists of trousers and a blouse. This costume is worn by the Hua dan and people of low social class. “It is often colorful and somtiemes elaborately embroidered with a sash tied round the middle (Mackaras).” The Ta Fa is the name of the hairstyle of the dan character, where the hair is drawn back off od the face and “rises to a thick, mounted chignon at the back. (mackaras)”. The hair of the actor should be curled and these curls should be arranged in semi-circles … To be continued …
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