Roles in Beijing Opera

In Beijing opera. there are four roles: the male and female roles. the painted-face role. and the comedic role. Every role has its own specific brands.

Lao Sheng and Xiao Sheng

The sheng (male role) is divided into lao sheng and xiao sheng: The former is a mature. middle-aged man who always represents an emperor or a decent man. while the latter portrays a young man.

Qing Yi. Wu Dan. Hua Dan.and Lao Dan

The dan (female role) is divided into qing yi. wu dan. and hua dan. respectively representing: a middle-aged woman who always acts as a Mrs or Miss from a noble family; a woman who can fight; and a young girl who serves as a maid.

The jing (painted-face role) means all kinds of painted-faces and acts as the male role that has a particular personality or appearance.

The mo role also belongs to the lao sheng category. except that he is much older and a scatterbrain with a low social status. In this role. the actor puts a small dot of whitening on the nose when putting on make-up. He is commonly called a clown due to the besmirched. multicolored. clown face that is generally known as ``three painted-faces.``

The chou (comic face which means clown) always acts as a wise and funny folk chivalrous man. or a man who has low social status.