Friday, September 03, 2010
Similar to Chinese all over the world, Chinese in Singapore too has a rich background of folklore, customs, rituals, festivals, myths and celebrations. Seventh month of lunar calendar is the Hungry Ghost Festival during which the Chinese believe that all the hell gates will open to free the 'hungry ghosts' from hell. People from earth must appease these "hungry ghosts" either by staging a Chinese traditional opera show or a modern musical show called the 'Getai' along side with offering sumptuous food, burning paper money and big joss sticks.
Last night, I followed my photographer friends to the backstage of a opera troupe at Beach Road and did one sketch. I was overwhelmed with the movements, sight and sound from these hardworking and multitasking opera performers. One moment, an actress could be a pregnant lady and next moment, the same actress could be a warlord with sword! Beside their roles as various characters on the show, they also doubled up as stage hands, make up artist and chorus. I even spotted two performers in their heavy make-up and costumes searching through stage photos on a laptop. Everyone had a standard chest for costumes and a cabinet with mirror at the exact position on the backstage regardless of the performance venue for the entire opera troupe. What a team of multitaskers! Respect!