November 15, 2009

San Wang Wu Ti street opera

Every ninth month in the lunar calendar, this long tent is a familiar sight at the Sago Lane area in Chinatown. It takes about one week to erect the structure and set up everything inside.

One half of it houses an opera stage and the seating platform which is quite wide. Ventilation is good, but on a hot afternoon you can feel the warmth. There are seats for about 500 people with a lot of space at the sides. However, more seats will be added for certain shows.

The stage is also wide. You can do 3 or 4 somersaults from one side to the other.
The backstage is rather congested because there are quite a lot of people, around two dozens I think - the artistes, their assistants and stage-hands.

The other half is the altar with statues of deities of the Taoist sect San Wang Wu Ti. This is also the area for devotees to pray and for religious rites to be performed.

If you do not wish to buy tickets for the opera shows you can watch from the outside.

Sometimes during the night show, the organizer asks the artistes to go down with donation boxes to collect money for charity.

One of the shows - a happy ending with all the main artistes on stage. The lead sheng and the lead dan are the third and fourth from the right.

Once upon a time there were three empty fields in this area. Now one field has been converted to a car-park. On another field now stands the Buddha Tooth and Relic Temple. Wonder how long will the remaining field remain.

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