Peony Pavillion part one - Suzhou Kunqu Opera company - Sadlers Wells
Well! This was a good night out. I was really drawn in by the great acting and found myself not even reaching for the bag of fortifying candy I had ready to help get me through the show - all the way through the TWO HOUR LONG FIRST FIVE ACTS. I have to say, if you didn't understand Chinese culture at all, it probably would have been a bit of a frustrating show - there were no acrobatic bit at all, just a starry eyed teenager mooning away for her dream love. But, you know what? I totally bought it. And the little bit of Chinese I've still got stuffed in my head helped me read about a third to a half of the characters (with the translation in English to point the way) and I was able to get a lot of enjoyment out of the really impressive poetry. The whole thing was basically done in sonnets - not just iambic pentameter, but proper Chinese poems (except for the maid's talk, which seemed to be more vernacular). Two more nights to go, and while I _will_ be getting hot tea prepared for us for intermission, I'm actually pretty enthused about it - though I wish they'd actually stuck to the schedule and let us out a little closer to 10:30 instead of at about 11.
I'll try to do more of a writeup on my theater blog tomorrow, but just a note: tomorrow (and Saturday night) takes place in hell, and you can get 15 pound tickets for stalls seats if you're interested! Our seats were GREAT and I was able to count the flowers on the fairy costumes in the third scene (my favorite of the night).