Friday, June 15, 2007

Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards…

Because they can blow fire and change their faces a dozen times and do a quadruple backflip and a hundred other things I know I’m forgetting.

We just returned from the oldest tea house in Chengdu. In the tea house, you take tea while watching various performers. We saw several musicians, two scenes from Chinese opera, a shadow puppet master, a Chinese puppet show, fire breathing, and masters of the mask.

They were amazing. The shadow puppet master created images with his hands that I did not think possible. A wolf and rabbit chase, ending poorly for the rabbit. Bunnies and horses running, though not at the same time. A dove. A pair of doves. An owl. A kitten.


The musicians and opera pieces were interesting, but they were longer than I would have liked. This may be due to my mental state (see the previous post), or due to my 15 hours awake at the start of the show. Or because the pieces build to too many climaxes. Once you’re banging on every blessed surface on the stage, call it a day. Please.

The fire breathing was fire breathing. Very cool, not anything new, but always fantastical to see. The masters of the mask were amazing. A flick of the wrist and BANG! New face. They even came out into the audience so we could see them up close. I was less than ten feet away, and I’m still not sure how they did it.

Rivendell magic was the manipulation of the matter of the universe. Earthbound magic is the manipulation of expectations, the diversion of attention. I wonder where I was supposed to look.

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