Among the many activities Charlie was excited to share with me, the Sichuan Opera always seemed to be at the top of the list. It therefore seemed fitting that I would attend a performance on my last night in China.
I had decided to stay at Sim’s Cozy Guest House my last two nights as I had gotten to know the place well while arranging my onward transportation. Sim was the personable kind of owner who you’d see walking around all the time. I booked the opera show through the travel desk, and headed off in a shuttle with a group of fellow hostelers.
It turned out to be a Chinese variety show. Performers took turns dancing, singing, using puppets, playing instruments, performing a comedy skit (complete with English subtitles), doing acrobatics, fire breathing, and face changing.
The face changing was part of the finale. People in traditional costumes danced around, flicking their heads up/down or back/forth in an instant, changing the thin painted masks over their face. They did it so quickly, and so frequently, you were left amazed at how they could control the masks so skillfully.