Role of Chou in Peking Opera
The roles on the Chinese opera stage fall into four categories: Sheng Dan, Jing and Chou. These roles have the natural features of age and sex, as well as social status, and are artificially exaggerated by makeup, costume and gestures.
The Chou is one of the main roles in Peking Opera. The eyes and nose are surrounded by a white patch, so Chou is also known as Xiao Hua Lian (partly painted face).
The Chou roles originated in Southern Drama of the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368) and appear in various kinds of operas. They portray various kinds of characters, some are warm-hearted, simple and sincere, and some are sinister and mean.
In modern operas, the performance of Chou roles has developed rapidly, and different operas have their own styles. In general, the Chou roles do not focus on singing, but the dialogue is clear and fluent.
According to the social positions, characters and skills demanded, the Chou roles are divided into two categories: Wenchou (civilian) and Wuchou (martial). Both have their own special features.
Wuchou is also known as Kai Kou Tiao. It requires not only a good command of the martial arts or acrobatics, but also the ability to deliver the lines both clearly and fluently. The movements should be light and powerful.