Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hiiii Yaaaa!



W
e're in China where various forms of martial arts have been practiced for probably centuries. When Jenny asked if we would be interested in seeing a show, you could see the guys go "WOW" with their eyes....the girls, not so much. But, we're in Beijing, our last stop on China, so why not?

On our way to the restaurant for dinner tonigbt, Jenny stopped at a theatre to buy our show tickets for the martial arts show we would be going to. We returned after dinner a few minutes before show time. As we entered the lobby of the theatre, we were greeted by a young, stone-faced boy sitting atop a large, wooden chair. Every few seconds he would beat on his drum. It was a very solemn performance.

We entered the theatre and were led to our seats...not the best seats in the house as they were close to the stage but to the far right so we didn’t have a full view of the stage. Looking at the faces of the people in the audience, it was evident this was a show targeted at tourists....there were few Chinese faces to be seen.

As the lights dimmed, a ticker style board displayed the opening credits…..similar to what you when you go to the movies. The same board would display Chinese characters during the show as the story that was being presented was narrated in English….by a Chinese man made up to look like an old martial arts master. The funny part was that the actor obviously didn’t speak English so he was lip synching the lines....and not doing a very good job of it!

The story is that of a young boy who is left at a monastery by his mother. His is to be a life of sacrifice; his destiny is to be one of enlightenment. As he grows up from boy to man, he learns how to use the skills of Kung Fu not for fighting but for facing heartbreak when his beloved mother dies and shunning his desire to love a woman. Each scene of the story was told by either an acrobatic performance or a martial arts performance. Of course, the latter were the most impressive. Very cool, classic Kung Fu moves performed my skilled artists. There was the expected *head bashing bricks* piece along with a well choreographed piece that involved fighting with swords and bamboo poles. And it didn’t hurt that the performers were muscular guys were costumed in just loose Chinese style pants with cloth shoes :-)

At the end of the performance, several of the actors appeared in the lobby for a photo op so what the hell, I snapped a couple shots.


While the show was interesting, it wasn’t as well done as the acrobatic show in Shanghai. Nonetheless, it capped off a busy day for me. By the time we got back to the hotel, I was ready for bed! What an incredible way to spend the 4th of July!! There would be more of Beijing tomorrow!