I just came back from a week long business trip to Beijing, China. One of the most memorable events of the trip was a variety show at a Beijing teahouse called Lao Tse teahouse climaxing with an exceptional face changing routine typical of the Sichuan Opera. With remarkable slight of hand, the performer will change masks seven to ten times during an approximate 3 minute performance; often right in front of you. Some may consider it as an illusionist or magic trick, but more rightfully, it’s an art form developed in southern China that takes years and years to perfect. While not the actual Sichuan opera performance I watched, here’s an example clip of Sichuan opera.
Quite amazing! Here’s also a fun little animated version of Sichuan opera face changing.
If ever in China, I highly recommend seeing one of these performances.