台上十分钟,台下十年功

So I mentioned a skit last time. Each of the twelve teams was assigned a 成语 (chengyu, Chung yu) to make a skit about. Chengyu are probably best described as idioms or traditional sayings, and are normally four characters long, but have a lot of variation.  They come from old books, legends, famous peoples’ words etc.
Ours was 专心致志 (zhuan xin zhi zhi, jew-aan sheen jer jer) or to completely focus one’s heart and mind on something.  Our skit features a student and teacher in the present day discussing why the state of Lu (Confucius’ home state) was poorly governed back in the day. The teacher (Mencius in the original story) uses the story of a go master’s two students to explain.  The two students play go, and one is constantly distracted by thoughts of hunting cranes and marrying the master’s daughter.  This causes the other student (played by yours truly) to wind.  At the end we flip back the present day when the master explains “you see, the ruler of Lu was like the first student, always distracted and not 专心致志, this is why you must always be focused no matter what you do.”  We’ve managed to inject some humor into this bit if traditional Chinese wisdom.

It’s been interesting remembering some of the things I learned at drama camp back when I was a wee bairn.  Stand angled, project, over-emphasize your movements etc.  All stuff I knew but wasn’t in my active knowledge for a while.

This is also a great opportunity to teach you all a great Chinese phrase: 台上十分钟,台下十年功 (tai shang shi fen zhong, tai xia shi nian gong; tai shang sure fen jong, tai sha sure knee-en gong, all a’s followed by n’s are long, all o’s are long as well).  Directly translated it’s “ten minutes on stage, (takes) 10 years of work off stage.”  The translation I’ve just fashioned is “work ten years time for ten minutes’ lime(light)”.  It has a nice ring to it and sums up all types of performing very well I feel.

Word on the street is that the other teams have fairly varied sayings.  The guy I know on the Xi’an team says his is super boring, but the Beijing team (the heavy favorite, like damn they’re good) have a love story one that they’ve worked wonders with.

Again, it’s nice to have little investment in the results. 😀  Watch, now when it comes down to it I’ll be the most competitive sucker in there.

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