The Four Great Jingju Xusheng (Bearded/Older Male)
- Performers-lecture-demonstration and workshop

DATE
19 September 2012

LOCATION
UK Limkokwing University of  
Creative Technology

UK Research and Development Centre for Chinese Traditional Culture

ORGANISER
London Jing Kun Opera Association

On September 16, an interactive lecture on the theme of "A Probe Into Laosheng Style of Peking Opera" was held in the lecture theatre of Lin Guorong University of Science and Technology of China. The venue was full of guests, including the leaders of the Chinese Embassy in the UK and Chinese and English culture and drama enthusiasts.

First of all, Ms. Gui Qiulin, the Dean of the Institute of Chinese Traditional Culture, gave a welcome speech. Mr Zhang Kewei, the chief Laosheng performer of the Jingkun Opera Research Institute, introduced the characteristics of the Peking Opera genres such as Yu, Tan, Ma, Yang, and Qi to the Opera fans, and played videos of the Peking Opera masters.

To give the audience an intuitive impression, Mr. Zhang brought all kinds of gorgeous props, including costumes, helmets, thick soled boots, horse whips, beards. He also presented the Laosheng style make-up and did the full outfit of the warrior character. It was something that the audience could not normally see in the theater. While we often saw the on-stage spectacle, we now started to realised the performers’ efforts behind the stage. After all-round dressing up, Mr. Zhang was accompanied by Mr. Qiu Zenghui, the chief Peking Erhu player of the Institute, to perform the traditional Peking Opera repertoire "Shang tian tai". The perfect cooperation between the two fascinated the audiences and drew enthusiastic applause. After that, Mr. Zhang demonstrated the Laosheng footwork, the use of beard, sleeves, fans and whips.

The interaction session was even more exciting. With horse whips in their hands, the British audience and children learned about the horse riding and postures with Mr Zhang. The audience also learned the vocal production and stage speech of well-know Peking Opera pieces, "Kong cheng ji" and "Hong yang dong", accompanied by Mr Qiu. The atmosphere deeply touched Dr. Shan Sheng, the Honorary Dean of the Institute of Chinese Traditional Culture. Dr. Shan, 84, is an experienced amateur performer and disciple of Meng Xiaodong, one of the most well-renounced Opera masters in the Republican period. Invited by the audience, he performed an extract from “Kong cheng ji”. His passion and marvellous performance brought the event to a climax.

The event came to a successful conclusion with rounds of applause. On October 27th, the Jingkun Society will hold its 10th anniversary social celebration performance in London. Anyone and everyone is warmly welcome.