The Chalk Cycle at MIT

hi colleagues,

letting you know about our fall theater production at MIT that just opened. if you are in boston area this weekend and want to come, please let me know and i will reserve a ticket for you. we are sold out tonite but have a few tickets for tomorrow (saturday) nite and some for sunday matinee at 2pm.

i wrote/directed the play—it is based on the yuan drama ‘the chalk circle’ and brecht’s adaptation ‘the caucasian chalk circle’ and the 1999-2007 custody case of anna mae he.

running time is two hours, and it’s appropriate for audiences 13 years old and up.

warm wishes,

claire conceison Continue reading

Shan Tianfang, storyteller, dies at 83

Source: NYT ((/17/18)
Shan Tianfang, a Superstar of Chinese Storytelling, Dies at 83
By Amy Qin

Shan Tianfang, a storyteller whose energetic oral renditions of classical Chinese novels and historical events propelled the ancient pingshu tradition into the modern age for generations of Chinese, died on Sept. 11 in Beijing. He was 83.

The cause was multiple organ failure, said Xiao Jianlu, Mr. Shan’s business associate and the manager of the Shan Tianfang Culture Communication Company.

Mr. Shan tried for many years to avoid becoming a performer of pingshu, the Song dynasty-era storytelling tradition. Growing up in 1950s China in a family of folk art performers, he had seen struggle firsthand. It was a life of constant financial troubles and low social status. Continue reading

German theater company cancels Ibsen play (1)

This piece has some discussion of exactly why they cancelled Ibsen’s play — the government got scared, as usual:

An Enemy of the People is ‘not welcome’ in China. By Grace Tsoi. Inkstone (Sept 12, 2018).

https://www.inkstonenews.com/arts/classic-ibsen-play-enemy-people-censored-china/article/2163896

Two thoughts:

This brings back nostalgic memories of when I helped set up August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, in Chengdu in 1987, directed by the late Zhang Fushen. I wrote about it in the Swedish daily, Svenska Dagbladet, on Jan. 14, 1987.

Also, wondering about this Inkstone. It is paid for by the Chinese state. They sometimes seem to want to balance on the line of the forbidden. Is it that they want to project a fantasy about the censorship situation, to ignorant foreigners, by way of seeming a little daring? How much of it is it available inside the firewall?

yrs. Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu

German theater company cancels Ibsen play

Source: Washington Post (9/12/18))
German theater company’s Ibsen play canceled in China
By Associated Press

BERLIN — A German theater company is ending a tour of China early after a theater canceled two showings of Henrik Ibsen’s “An Enemy of the People.” German authorities say they regret the cancellation.

Tobias Veit, the director of Berlin’s Schaubuehne theater, told German news agency dpa Wednesday two planned performances in the eastern city of Nanjing won’t go ahead. The official reason given by the Chinese theater was “technical problems.”

The Schaubuehne has been touring with the Ibsen play since 2012. It usually ends with a discussion with the audience, but that was allowed only at the first of three Beijing performances.

German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Adebahr said Berlin has “taken note with regret” of the cancellation. She said the German embassy informed China’s culture ministry of that stance Wednesday.

Xiqu English terms?

Dear list members,

Hong Kong West Kowloon Cultural District’s first major performing arts centre — the Xiqu Centre — opens this December: https://www.westkowloon.hk/en/the-district/architecture-facilities/xiqu-centre/

Our marketing and comms team has asked me if there exists a standardization of Xiqu terms somewhere for their baseline reference and use.

Does East West Centre at U of Hawaii, or someone at HKU or elsewhere know of such a database or listserv or other resource? A kind of Chicago Manual of Style for Xiqu terms in English that they can use as a reference point for why they choose the English terms they choose (right now it is up to the preference / conventions of the translators they engage, but we would prefer something more standardized to reference.)

All directions appreciated!

Many thanks,

Alison Friedman <alison@pingpongarts.org>

Vagina Monologues cancelled at Fudan

Source: Sup China (5/31/18)
Student Group At Fudan University Forced To Cancel Annual Production Of ‘The Vagina Monologues’
By JIAYUN FENG

This year at Fudan University in Shanghai, there will not be any students talking loudly about female genitalia. Zhihe Society 知和社, an on-campus student organization committed to addressing gender issues, was forced to cancel its annual performance of the feminist play The Vagina Monologues (阴道独白 yīndào dúbái), which was set to take place on May 31.

Written by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 1994, The Vagina Monologues is a celebration of women’s rights, bodies, and sexual experiences.

In 2004, students at Fudan University performed the Chinese version of The Vagina Monologues for the first time on campus, making the school the first Chinese college to produce the play. In subsequent years, the student group constantly adapted the original play for the contemporary Chinese context, and the annual production has evolved into a well-received cultural event among college students in Shanghai. Continue reading

Historic Shanghai theater makes a comeback

Source: China Daily (5/26/18)
Historical theater makes a comeback
By Zhang Kun in Shanghai

The facade of the Great Theater of China in Shanghai. Provided to China Daily

The 88-year-old Great Theater of China in Shanghai was reopened on May 16 after two years of renovations.

Located near People’s Square at 704 Niuzhuang Road in downtown Shanghai, the facility was built in 1930 as a prime venue for Peking Opera performance. Famous artists such as Mei Lanfang, Ma Lianliang and Meng Xiaodong used to sing in the theater, which was known as one of the “Top Four Stages” of Peking Opera.

The building was listed as a protected historical structure by the municipality in 2005. Huangpu district authorities later made the decision to renovate the building in 2012. The Ever Shining Cultural Group, the operator of the theater, invited RHWL Architects from Britain to work alongside a Chinese team for the renovation. Continue reading

Chinese opera in Thailand

Source: NYT (4/24/18)
‘We Don’t Perform for People, We Perform for the Gods’
A community has formed around Chinese opera in Thailand, preserving one of the oldest dramatic art forms in the world.
By Malin Fezehai

Backstage with the Sai Yong Hong Chinese Opera troupe. Actors spend hours applying layers of makeup and working on their hairstyles before performing.

BANGKOK — “Anywhere they play in Bangkok, I’ll be there,” said Warin Nithihiranyakul, 73, a dedicated fan of the Sai Yong Hong Chinese Opera troupe for more than 10 years. While waiting for his friends to arrive, he helps out by starting to set up plastic red chairs for the audience to watch the evening’s performance in an area just south of Bangkok’s Chinatown.

A devotee of 11 years, Wandee Tengyodwanich, 62, unwraps several small plates of Chinese dough sticks and cake, passing them around to her friends in front of the stage before the show. She says that Sai Yong Hong is the best Chinese opera in Thailand because it invests in very elaborate costumes. She and her friends go to see the group a couple of times a year. They eat and catch up as they reminisce about the first time they saw Chinese opera as children. Continue reading

Sinicizing China’s great oral epics

Source: Altaic Storytelling (4/12/18)
Manas” Onstage: Ongoing Moves to Sinicize China’s Three Great Oral Epics
By Bruce Humes

A large-scale, colourful rendition of the Kyrgyz epic Manas (玛纳斯史诗) was staged March 22-23 in Beijing’s ultra-modern Poly Theater. This performance came just two days after the newly anointed President Xi Jinping, speaking at the People’s Congress, cited two of the three great oral epics of non-Han peoples, Manas and the Tibetan-language King Gesar. While he mangled the title of the latter (Xi Jinpingian Sager), their mere mention shows their importance in the Party’s current multiethnic-is-good narrative.

This centuries-old trilogy in verse recounts the exploits of the legendary hero Manas and his son and grandson in their struggle to resist external enemies — primarily the Oirat Mongols and the Khitan —and unite the Kyrgyz people. Along with heroic tales such as Dede Korkut and the Epic of KöroğluManas  is considered one of the great Turkic epic poems. Continue reading

Association of Asian Performance 2018–cfp

The Association for Asian Performance (AAP), a focus group of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), invites submissions to its 18th Annual Conference!

Association for Asian Performance 18th Annual Conference
July 31-August 1, 2018 | Boston, MA

The AAP conference is a two-day event, to be held at the Westin Boston Waterfront in Boston, MA preceding the 2018 ATHE Annual Conference. Proposals are invited for papers, panels, workshops, roundtable discussions, and other formats. Learn more about the AAP at http://www.yavanika.org/aaponline/.

The deadline for proposals is March 31, 2018. (Proposals from foreign applicants may receive early consideration as needed for visa arrangements.) Proposals for the following formats are welcome: Continue reading

Asian Theatre and Dance–cfp

CALL FOR PRESENTATIONS: Adaptation, Translation and Acculturation in Asian Theatre and Dance
A Symposium at the Centre for Asian Theatre and Dance, Royal Holloway, University of London, 25 May 2018

Adaptation, and parallel adaptive acts such as translation (Jakobson 2000) and acculturation, are the foundation blocks for intercultural and cross-cultural projects (Chan 2012), but also have agency in developing national multicultural narratives (Leong 2014).  As Chan highlights, ‘adaptations serve as carriers of cultural subjects and formations’ (2014: 412).  Inevitably, acts of intercultural and cross-cultural adaptation are bound to the cultural-political sphere, to post-colonial and neo-colonial histories. Yet, they are as much a product of the personal and the national, as they are the communal and the global. Translation happens not only between texts but also within performance, articulating the commensurability or lack of understanding among actors representing contrasting world views (Lindsay 2007). Continue reading

Stage tribute to Lao She

Source: China Daily (12/28/17)
Stage tribute to literary master
By Chen Nan | China Daily

The theater plays Five Acts of Life is adapted from five short stories by Chinese author Lao She, including Assuming Office and Death Dealing Spear. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

A play comprising five short stories by Lao She returns to Beijing after its recent two-month nationwide tour. Chen Nan reports.

Theater director Lin Zhaohua met Shu Yi, the son of novelist and playwright Lao She (1899-1966), after Lin premiered his play Hamlet, adapted from William Shakespeare’s work, in October 2008.

While congratulating Lin on his take on the classic, Shu talked about commemorating his father’s 110th birth anniversary. Continue reading

Original theater

Source: Sixth Tone (9/25/17)
Why Original Chinese Theater Is Much Ado About Nothing
Meddling directors, confused actors, and pushy politicians are leaving the country’s budding playwrights exasperated.
By Nina Huang

Actors stage a performance during the 2011 Beijing Fringe Festival in Beijing, Sept. 23, 2011. Wei Yao/IC

China’s theater industry is experiencing a worrisome boom. Though more and more plays are being produced, and audience numbers are increasing every year, the market is flooded with foreign productions, commercial adaptations, and classic Chinese plays. Experimental theaters — known simply as “small theaters” in Mandarin — are in decline, despite their strong track record of producing original stories that reflect modern China.

According to Daolue, a research center that provides data on the Chinese cultural industry, the number of new plays last year dropped to fewer than 200, down from 375 in 2015. The box office revenue for plays in small theaters reached 164 million yuan ($25 million), a decrease of 23 percent from 2015. Audience figures also dropped by 536,000 compared to the year before. Continue reading

Chinese Shakespeares translation

Chinese Shakespeares: Two Centuries of Cultural Exchange, by Alexa Alice Joubin (Columbia University Press) is now available in Chinese, translated by Sun Yanna and Zhang Ye (Shanghai: East China Normal University Press), 2017. ISBN: 9787567553033

https://www.amazon.cn/莎士比亚的中国旅行-从晚清到21世纪-黄诗芸/dp/B071DDB6DK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1506566797&sr=8-4&keywords=莎士比亚中国

For close to two hundred years, the ideas of Shakespeare have inspired incredible work in the literature, fiction, theater, and cinema of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. From the novels of Lao She and Lin Shu to Lu Xun’s search for a Chinese “Shakespeare,” and from Feng Xiaogang’s martial arts films to labor camp memoirs, Soviet-Chinese theater, Chinese opera in Europe, and silent film, Shakespeare has been put to work in unexpected places, yielding a rich trove of transnational imagery and paradoxical citations in popular and political culture. Continue reading

Chinoperl 36.1

CHINOPERL: Journal of Chinese Oral and Performing Literature No. 36.1 (July 2017)
Special Issue: Chinese Opera, Xiqu, and New Media, 1890s-1950s
Edited by XU Peng and Margaret Wan

To access abstracts and download the essays, link here: http://tandfonline.com/toc/ychi20/current

INTRODUCTION by XU PENG

ARTICLES

Hearing the Opera: “Teahouse Mimesis” and the Aesthetics of Noise in Early Jingju Recordings, 1890s-1910s XU PENG

Qi Rushan, Gewu (Song-and-Dance), and a History of Contemporary Peking Opera in Early Twentieth-Century China HSIAO-CHUN WU

Locating Theatricality on Stage and Screen: Rescuing Performance Practice and the Phenomenon of Fifteen Strings of Cash (Shiwu guan, 1956) ANNE REBULL Continue reading