Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Globalization: by Daphne P. Lei

By Daphne P. Lei

Bringing the research of chinese language theatre into the 21st-century, Lei discusses ways that conventional paintings can live on and thrive within the age of modernization and globalization. construction on her earlier paintings, this new publication makes a speciality of a variety of types of chinese language "opera" in destinations round the Pacific Rim, together with Hong Kong, Taiwan and California.

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Additional info for Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Globalization: Performing Zero (Studies in International Performance)

Example text

When Wang realizes his wife has spent a night out with a man, he divorces her on the grounds of “immoral” conduct, which will affect his reputation. Distraught, Meng submits to her husband’s decision. Finally Wang meets Liu, who has shared the pavilion with his wife, and on hearing Liu’s account he realizes that his wife is indeed innocent and virtuous. 54 Wang An-Ch’i, the author of the new version, writes of her experience of relearning this play.

With its emphasis on the patriarchy’s key female virtues of chastity and obedience, this play is the perfect 42 Alternative Chinese Opera vehicle for actors specializing in the role of the virtuous maiden or qingyi (literally, “blue robe”) role type, such as Mei Lanfang and Wei Hai-Ming. Wang Youdao is away from home for the imperial examination. His wife Meng Yuehua goes to visit her parents and on her return is caught in an unexpected rainstorm, which forces her to take refuge in a pavilion. A young man, Liu Shengchun, takes shelter in the pavilion for the same reason.

Her approach was to re-examine jingju through the lens of “modern” concepts derived from Western theatre, in terms of dramaturgy, direction, lighting and set design, script, and even music. Traditional stories were restructured and repackaged, new music was composed, costumes were refashioned and the staging Westernized. Everything was redesigned with the aim of making the traditional art more palatable to younger audiences. Wu Hsing-kuo (1953–) went a step further: his Contemporary Legend Theater (Dangdai chuanqi, founded in 1986) staged Western plays adapted in jingju style, such as Macbeth (The Kingdom of Desire, Yuwang chengguo, 1986), Hamlet (The Revenge of the Prince, Wangzi 34 Alternative Chinese Opera fuchou ji, 1990), Oresteia (Aoruisitiya, 1995), and Waiting for Godot (Dengdai Guotuo, 2005).

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