Last October, I had the privilege of seeing what I now proudly refer to as “the greatest and most amazing show I have ever seen!!” What could this be, you ask? A Lady Gaga concert? Too simple. A David Copperfield magic show? How amateur! What I’m talking about is the Sichuan Opera!
Now before you grunt and groan at the thought of all the dok-dok-chaaaaang‘s and high-pitched, stretched out wailing, hear me out. The Sichuan Opera is different. Instead of simply being an on-stage
ear-lashing musical, a typical Sichuan opera show features a variety of captivating performances, including a stick puppet show, hand shadow show, comedic skit, fire-spitting and last but not least, the totally awesome and mind-boggling art of face changing!
To be honest, I have never in my life seen anything more amazing, majestic, awesome and thrilling. Watching the performers in their elaborate costumes strut on-stage, strike dramatic poses with piercing, taunting eye stares, wave their flags (swoosh-swoosh) like ancient warriors and blow firey flames into the crowd…I was mesmerized! In fact, I don’t think I’ve stopped raving about this show since I saw it, and you can take a wild guess what I was for Halloween last year:
So, it was with this rabid enthusiasm and love for Sichuan face changing that I persuaded my friends to join me at Yun Yan Sichuan Restaurant last night, mainly (if not only) because they had a free performance starting at 8pm every Thursday evening.
“Don’t be late or you’ll miss the performance!” I had warned them repeatedly. But now, I really wish they had all turned up late so they didn’t have to see the absolutely ridiculous and downright sh*tty performance it turned out to be!
First of all, with the modern yet drab interior of the restaurant, it was slightly odd to see a pudgy, costumed man in a cheap golden cape enter the room cued by what was apparently the Star Wars theme. The music quickly escalated into a cheesy Chinese song with the lyrics “bian lian” repeated a bajillion times (translation: “Change Face! Change Face! Change Face!” while the guy crept slowly around the dining tables in flat, dirty white boots (what happened to the platforms, man!?).
The face changing was actually yawn-inducing and our whole table seemed to be laughing AT how bad he was, especially when he stuck one leg up in the air, glared at us and shook like a leaf. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the poser suddenly flicked on a Spiderman(!) mask, followed by a Jack O’ Lantern(!!) mask! WTF, right!? In conclusion, please do NOT see the face changing show at this restaurant and get the real thing in Chengdu instead!