Golden Mask Makeover! Transformative Beijing Dynasty Show2016-03-26 by Sonja Jacobson | Filed under Be Happy.
The Golden Mask Dynasty Show at OCT Theatre may be one of Beijing’s best kept secrets. Nestled in the Happy Valley Amusement park in an architecturally stunning building, the show brings tourists out of the hustle and bustle of Beijing proper for an hour of amazement. Although the theatre itself is smaller than it’s local counterparts like the Beijing National Theatre, the show somehow manages to fit in an extraordinary amount to seduce all the senses: light effects, vibrant costumes, a well-rehearsed orchestra, acrobatic illusions, and towards the end, an actual waterfall that flows over the edge of the stage.
The show, encompassing over 200 actors and actresses, both national and foreign, tells the story of the Golden Mask Queen as she guides her dynasty through war and into peace. Throughout the eight acts, there are nearly 20 different dance ensembles to tell about the post-war life in the kingdom. Like most great shows, the Golden Mask Dynasty follows a love story between the Golden Mask Queen and the Blue Mask King. Towards the end of the play, the plot explores a deeper theme of sacrificial love as the Queen faces a somber decision when the floods threaten to destroy her land.
Without a doubt, the highlight of the show is the acrobatic displays, which not only mesmerize, but also remind us of China’s extensive history in acrobatic performance. Founded around 1600 BC by the Shang Dynasty, acrobatics have long been a tradition in Chinese culture. Previously enjoyed only by the wealthy, modernization and technological advancement now bring this ancient art to people of all classes to put us in awe of what the human body is physically capable of. From end-to-end backflips, to steady standing splits, to flawlessly synchronized dance ensembles, the show captivates from beginning to end.
For the grand finale, the Golden Mask Dynasty Show does not disappoint. The queen stands atop the flood, facing her dilemma, as she watches the villagers try to navigate the rising water. The actors and actresses below move through the flooding stage with such astounding grace that it’s hard to believe they’re wading through knee-deep water. By this point, the storyline is so enthralling that the actor’s struggles have become our own and the building crescendo of the orchestra gives rise to an overwhelming empathy for the Queen and her people.
Due to its brilliant costumes, a beautifully crafted set, and the fine-tuned talent of the actors and actresses, the Golden Mask Dynasty Show is not to be missed. Despite it’s being a short distance from the city center, the drive, money, and time are sound investments. There are no better ways to finish a day’s worth of exploring Beijing’s history, culture, and architecture than with a show that will amaze and excite, and turn the mind outward towards the rich history of a Chinese Dynasty.