Thursday, May 30, 2013

Painted faces: revisited

Work kept me away from the wayang at Pulau Ubin last year but I'm glad to catch-up with the Teochew Opera troupe this year. For me it was the exhilaration of capturing the transformation each performer goes through to become their characters. It was also a chance to see the familiar faces from 2011.
Backstage is usually a sleepy affair at around 5 pm with some performers having naps in hammocks, others watching movies on their tablets, to some already painting on their faces. Come closer to performance time it is a hive of activity.
I loved it so much that I went back twice. The second time, I stayed for close to three hours as I decided to also photograph the performance. I would love to tell you that I understood the performances but I don't. The sister of one of the performers video taping the performance told me that the play was about Yue Fei (pronounced Yweh-Fay), one of China’s most celebrated generals, who was known for his military successes and his high ethical standards. However, in Chinese lore Yue Fei is a symbol of loyalty. 

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