So many colorful and interesting theatre plays have existed since the roots of entertainment in the civilized world. This was way before filmography set it’s foot into the array of entertaining media. But the two are largely connected with still many people who have lived and made the shift between the two. Sometimes they are also combined together to make opera within films themselves, which is another subject I won’t go into that much.
While the forces from opera to films have been great and continue to influence the global markets, there is also the opposite which is a less known phenomenon. Many people have set out to train to become a projectionist, yet moving picture has less seen a move to opera play. As a producer of some, interesting films I had no idea about the origins of movies. Neither had I ever really ventured into the world of Opera, not counting the occasional “Dancer in the Dark” type of musical that would catch my attention. Far from the Icelandic world of Björk, I once again found myself from an interesting group of entertainers in the city of Beijing, China. I had indeed come to see the famous Chinese opera that was suppose to “knock my socks off”, which it did.
While I would never have the courage to practice Peking Opera with the discipline required in the origins of this age old performing art. It gave me a huge amount of inspiration for my own production as well as the motivation to spread these ideas around. It’s amazing when something as traditional as Opera can still be challenged as a concept. Even with something so ancient but relatively unknown, many people are not ready to be shocked by it. Which is a good thing because in my own movies, it’s all about bringing new ideas and shocking the foundations of thought. The particular performance I had the pleasure of watching in Beijing was at the “Huguang Guild Hall” theatre. A glorious 1807 build venue that was considered as one of the greatest Peking Opera theaters of all time in mainland China. While the fame has left the scene at this small, but attractive building and performances are much less bigger than in the old times.. it’s all the more attractive because it remains as a hidden gem amongst the old hutongs in the lively Xicheng District of the city. When opera is mixed with real life and a busy street scene, you can already sense the originality of the acts. The training is a lifetime work and you need to be very dedicated to get on stage to perform here for a mostly Chinese and local audience. Only a handful of tourists like myself end up there, who can appreciate the art even without understanding the language. Sometimes I wonder if even the Chinese can understand this ancient and twisted mandarin and is displayed with high pitch singing. It sometimes even hurts my ears but well blends with the rest of the noise and beautiful choreography on stage.
Without a doubt, the Huguang Guild Hall will continue to inspire my career in movies. And for me it’s the other way around, going back to opera having started from modern filmography. I guess if you look at the many productions I’ve done, it’s kind of obvious that I just have to do everything the other way around. Which is not the wrong way around as one small child once taught me. Enjoy!