Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Chinese opera in Thailand, performs for the Gods, not for people

By Malin Fezehai
An actress backstage moments before going onstage. Chinese opera performances are delivered in Teochew, a dialect originating in Southern China. Credit Malin Fezehai/The New York Times
BANGKOK — “Anywhere they play in Bangkok, I’ll be there,” said Warin Nithihiranyakul, 73, a dedicated fan of the Sai Yong Hong Chinese Opera troupe for more than 10 years. A devotee of 11 years, Wandee Tengyodwanich, 62, unwraps several small plates of Chinese dough sticks and cake, passing them around to her friends in front of the stage before the show. Performances are free — they are commissioned by shrines in Bangkok and sometimes around the country. “We don’t perform for people, we perform for the gods,” Mr. Tatchai said. They transport the stage with a six-wheel truck and assemble it at each location where they perform. The whole troupe gets paid 20,000 baht (about $640) per night. [More]
Somsak Saetae, 62, applying makeup before a show. He has been an actor with the troupe for over 10 years and has been in the industry since he was 8. Credit Malin Fezehai/The New York Times