Year 2004. The first time I went to Liyuan Theatre to watch a dancing peace of Peking Opera performance it was in 2004 during a professional assignment in Beijing. At that time it was possible (one year later with friends was not possible), for early arrivals at the theatre, to visit the make-up big room and photograph the actors preparing themselves for the performance. This was possible but under very limited circumstances; no flash, cameras in silent mode, mobile phones off (no smart phones yet), walking softly, no talks and pay 10 Yuan per actor we photographed. Those were the rules for us, visitors. But there was another non-written rule, the mood of the actors. If they were not in a mood for photography nothing the staff or who ever managed the place could do. So I took a small camera with me, just in case, and as expected (because I was told in the lobby of the theatre) the actors were not in the mood for the public show of their preparations, not for photography at least; the four ladies members of the cast, with no single stroke of make-up yet, all pointed the finger to indicate: no pictures! Fortunately we were only five or six people who knew about this possibility so we didn’t really disturb much and this actor realised they were being a little raucous. He looked at me and saw my eyes begging for one single shot. OK, but no flash! I thanked him; 谢谢 and took three shots and this was the least blurred because the light on the room was old, giving an overall dimmed effect and although they had a small spot light nearby I was nervous and afraid he would suddenly say no. But he kept making-up for his Sheng role and din’t accept the money I wanted to give to him.
This is the result.