Liang Baoting (R) and Liu Zihao from Foshan perform a crosstalk show on the stage during the competition. [Photo provided to Newsgd.com]
The final and award ceremony of the Cantonese crosstalk & sketch competition was held at the Culture Park in Guangzhou on the evening of March 31st, 2019. Two teenagers Liang Baoting and Liu Zihao, aged 9 and 10 respectively, from Foshan claimed the title and the Macao team won first prize in the group competition. According to the organizing committee, winning teams will go on tour to Macao in June this year.
The competition has attracted a total of 310 contestants including 33 groups and saw 30 original works by crosstalk performers from Hong Kong, Macao, Guangzhou, Foshan, Dongguan and Qingyuan. The oldest participant was 87 years old and the youngest 5 years old. In the children’s group, girls account for 50% of the participants, which was a pleasent surprise, because crosstalk has been a traditionally male pursuit.
Four contestants from Guangzhou perform a sketch on the stage during the competition. [Photo: Wu Weihong]
The competition is co-hosted by Guangdong Chinese Culture Promotion Society and Guangdong Society for the Study of Folk Literature and Art, and organized by Guangdong Music & Folk Art Troupe. It was dedicated to the efforts of well-known Cantonese ‘crosstalk’ artist Huang Junying’s great efforts, who also performed two crosstalk shows with his pupils at the final.
The 83-year-old Huang Junying is a comedian known for pioneering and promoter of Cantonese crosstalk. It was him who introduced xiangsheng to Guangdong. A master of the Cantonese language, Huang has created and starred over one hundred crosstalk performances during his 67-year career.
Cantonese crosstalk artist Huang Junying (R) performs with his pupil on the stage during the competition. [Photo: Wu Weihong]
Huang is multitalented, not just a crosstalk performer, he has performed in Cantonese opera, and found work as a screenwriter, director, tutor and player of many kinds of instruments, especially those used in traditional Cantonese music. He is a stand-out figure in Guangdong’s folk art circle.
Xiangsheng or ‘crosstalk’, is a form of comedy form that originated in Beijing in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) as a street art, usually involving two performers onstage. The shows are typified by their witty banter, jokes and creative puns, and deal with topics like daily events, family life and social issues.
Reported by Monica Liu
Edited by Simon Haywood