The sheer intricacy of the old Peking Opera design is a marvelous example of impeccable culture etiquette and workmanship.
The stage is carefully designed and laid out. You can see the stage from three different directions. It typically takes an oblong form whch is devided into two compartments with a curtain between them. The traditional Peking Opera stage is built higher than the spectators face which created an interesting position as a spectator. However modern stages commonly replica the western theater build in terms of the stage and stand composition. It is an honored tradition that the stand is located in the south and the stage in the north. Actors arrive to the stage from the east and leave from the west.
The music of the performance is played by the musicians that can be seen just in front of the stage. But the audience was not expected to sit calm and still and they came and went when they felt like it and shouted Hao Hao! to applaud a good play.
Traditionally the stage doesn’t use many props at all. Props are very scarce because the captivating wear of the actors was sufficient to keep up the interest of the viewer. A silk curtain works as the background and the floor is covered with a mattress.
The props are sort of created by action as gestures are made so over dramatically, that the audience understands where should be a dragon for example even if the dragon cannot be seen by the naked eye. Another common stage decorative is a square table and two chairs, that can be made through dialog to function as an animal or even a castle. Truly only the imagination is the limiting factor in such a setting.
This is an example of the design of a traditional Peking Opera stage at the famous Liyuan Theatre (www.liyuantheatreopera.com) in Beijing. Performances are made to replica the old feeling and style.
These is the equipment used by the musicians for the music of the play.
This is an example of a very intimate stage setting. See how you have to look up to see the performances through the small crowd.
Here you can see the beauty of such delicate and scarce props. The table is taking center stage with it’s simplicity in design.