Live art is one of the few mediums that hasn’t been radically transformed by the digital age. No screen is yet able to capture the magic of in-person performance, be it a comedy show, theater, or even Peking opera. The live performance scene is particularly vibrant in contemporary Beijing, where comedy and theater offerings are as diverse as they are popular. In this episode, Aladin interviews some of Beijing’s emerging live performers to discuss what happens on the stage — and behind the scenes.
Jesse Appell: Comedian | Director, US-China Comedy Center
Raimund Rosarius: Director | Author | Curator
And, as usual, your host, Aladin Farré.
Recommended watching and listening:
Lao She 老舍: Chinese novelist and dramatist.
Penghao Theatre: Beijing’s first private theater in Beijing.
Kaixin Mahua (Mahua FunAge) 开心麻花: Chinese private comedy enterprise that develops and produces plays, films, stand-up comedy, and TV shows.
Zhao Benshan 赵本山: Chinese actor and director best known for his frequent appearances on the CCTV New Year’s Gala. He has produced less work in recent years, possibly as a result of political attacks.
Answers to the episode quiz:
- Xiangsheng 相声, also known as “crosstalk,” is a centuries-old traditional form of Chinese comedic art, usually featuring two performers.
- During the Cultural Revolution, only eight revolutionary operas 样板戏 were allowed to be staged.
- The white mask in Peking Opera signifies treachery and stupidity.