"A two-man act (Shuang Huang)" is a kind of folk art originated from Beijing. It is more common in northern China and less in southern China. The development history of "a two-man act" is not very long. It originated in the late Qing Dynasty.
A two-man act - Shuang Huang
The performance form of the a two-man act is very simple. The props only need a chair. The performance of the a two-man act requires two people, one of whom is sitting on the chair and the other is hiding behind the person. Usually, the actor sitting on the chair needs to comb an upward braid. When performing the a two-man act, it tests the tacit understanding of the two people. The person sitting in the chair only makes the expression of happiness, anger and sorrow, but doesn't make a sound. The person behind is responsible for speaking. The frequency and expression of the two people's speaking must be consistent during the performance. Because the speaker hides behind, it looks like a person performing. The content of the double reed performance is usually the funny passages summarized in the society or life, together with the expression of the performers, to bring laughter to the audience.
At the end of the Qing Dynasty, when Empress Dowager Cixi was in power, she used to find the famous opera and zaqu actors outside to sing for her in the palace. There is an artist named Huang Fuchen. His funny play is appreciated by Empress Dowager Cixi. Once, Empress Dowager Cixi said that Huang Fuchen was going to perform in the Imperial Palace quickly. Huang Fuchen had a bad voice and could not go, but no one dared to disobey the "imperial edict". So he took his son to the palace with him. When he went on stage, Huang Fuchen was in charge of the performance. Huang Fuchen's son hid behind the chair and sang the opera. But he was seen through by Empress Dowager Cixi. Huang Fuchen's father and son were too scared to look up. However, when Empress Dowager Cixi saw his father and son's cooperation perfectly and wittily, she did not blame him, but joked, "you two are called Shuanghuang!" Since then, "Shuanghuang" ('shuang' means double in chinese,A two-man act) has become an independent form of Quyi(a form of opera).