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

HK in Transition programme

Hong Kong in Transition: Asian City-to-City Collaboration and Performing Arts Exchange, 1997-2017
9-10 September 2017, SOAS University of London

This two-day programme co-presented by the SOAS China Institute and Zuni Icosahedron marks the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to China with a series of events focusing on intercultural exchange and city-to-city collaboration in the performing arts. Participants will reflect on Hong Kong’s cultural exchanges with London and several Asian cities over the past twenty years, as well as discuss proposals, opportunities, strategies, and challenges for the next two decades.

Academic Symposium – Hong Kong Theatre in Transnational Perspective: New Directions and Discourses since 1997

Saturday 9 September, Senate House Lecture Theatre (SALT), 9am – 5pm.

  • This symposium will explore aspects of theatre production in Hong Kong in the post-1997 period from a transnational perspective, including intercultural and cross-genre collaborations with other Sinophone and Asian performance cultures from Singapore, Taiwan, China, and Japan, Cantonese opera in the diaspora, experimental and political performance, and intersections between indigenous and foreign theatrical forms.

Continue reading

China’s theatre bubble

Source: American Theatre (May/June, 2017)
China’s Theatre Bubble
Most stage works don’t attract mass audiences or enjoy long runs—but there can be strength in the shadows.
By Raymond Zhou

The cast of Beijing Joyway Culture’s “Mr. Donkey.”

Unlike China’s film industry, which is constantly in the limelight, Chinese theatre enjoys the benefits of the shadows, so to speak. Without the tight scrutiny of the public or the censors, it has mushroomed into an art form with an almost unimaginable range of diverse works. On the other hand, most of these have failed to find even a limited audience, let alone commercial viability.

According to an official report, Beijing alone saw 24,440 live performances for the year 2016, registering 1.7 billion yuan ($247.7 million) in box-office receipts and 10.7 million total viewers. Pop concerts accounted for 593 million yuan, the biggest category, followed by various dramatic arts, with 260 million yuan. Continue reading

Theater, Art, and the CR talks

Theater, Art, and the Cultural Revolution: A Presentation featuring Zheng Shengtian and Chen Xiaomei
Wednesday, March 29, 6:30-8:00pm
China Institute
40 Rector Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10006

Tickets $5 each, please Register Here

Beginning in 1966, China’s Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution was a mass movement that shook the foundations of Modern China to its core. The movement’s ubiquitous presence disrupted all aspects of Chinese society, and has had a lasting impact on Chinese culture that continues until today. Continue reading

Digital Library of Chinese Theatre

Dear all,

The Pilot of Digital Library of Chinese Theatre is ready to be viewed:

https://chinesetheatre.leeds.ac.uk/

I hope this will be of some use for your teaching, research and practical work in the theatre.
The project is supported by the AHRC grant for the Leeds-based international research network ‘Staging China’ and the ‘Language and Culture for the New Generation of Leading Researchers in East Asian Studies: Partnerships, Networks and Training’.

There are only 40 productions covering about 20 theatrical genres (since it is merely a pilot) but there are a few highlights, for example,

1.    There are 11 different productions of The Orphan of Zhao, including modern spoken drama, regional song-dance theatre, opera and covering works from 4 countries, China, Nigeria, Korea and Britain (Royal Shakespeare Company’s 2012-13 work). Continue reading

AAP 2017–cfp

Association for Asian Performance 17th Annual Conference
August 2-3, 2017 | Las Vegas, NV

The Association for Asian Performance (AAP) invites submissions for its 17th annual conference. The AAP conference is a two-day event, to be held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV preceding the annual ATHE (Association for Theatre in Higher Education) conference. Proposals are invited for papers, panels, workshops and roundtable discussions. Learn more about the AAP at http://www.yavanika.org/aaponline/.

The deadline for proposals is March 15, 2017. (Proposals from foreign applicants may receive early consideration as needed for visa arrangements.) Proposals for the following formats are welcome: Continue reading

Du Zichun to return to the stage

Source: Global Times (12/25/16)
Hit black comedy stage play to return to Beijing’s Gulou West Theater on December 29

Black comedy Du Zichun will return to the stage at the Gulou West Theater in Beijing from December 29.

Debuting in September of 2012 at the Beijing Fringe Festival, the play was a huge success.

The play is based on a short fantasy story written during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) that focuses on the character of Du Zichun.

From a rich family, Du loses his wealth after his parents pass away. Shortly after he is given several treasures from an immortal. Selling these treasures he becomes rich, but soon after once again finds himself falling into poverty after all his friends and close relatives “help” him spend his fortune. Eventually, Du learns to rise above material desires and begins following the path to become an immortal. Continue reading

AAP emerging scholar panel 2017–cfp

AAP (Association for Asian Performance) Emerging Scholar Panel 2017-CFP

The Association for Asian Performance (AAP) invites submissions for its 23rd Annual Adjudicated Panel to be held during the Association for Asian Performance annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 2, 2017, which precedes the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) conference. Selected papers will be strongly considered for publication in Asian Theatre Journal – an official publication of AAP. Eligibility is open to all (current and recent graduate students, scholars, teachers, artists) provided they are: 1) early in their scholarly career OR new to the study of Asian performance; 2) have not published in Asian Theatre Journal; and 3) have not previously received an AAP Emerging Scholars Award. We welcome submissions from past applicants. Papers (8-10 double-spaced pages) may deal with any aspect of Asian performance or drama. Preparation of the manuscript in Asian Theatre Journal style, which can be gleaned from a recent issue, is desirable. Up to three winning authors will be selected and invited to present their papers at the upcoming AAP conference. Paper presentations should be no longer than twenty minutes. A $100 cash prize will be awarded for each paper selected, to help offset conference fees. AAP Conference registration fees are waived for the winners, who also receive one-year free membership to AAP.  Receipt of award is contingent upon attendance at the AAP conference. All paper submissions will receive written feedback from the selection committee. Continue reading

Wuzhen Theatre Festival (1)

Here’s more, from the NYT, on the Wuzhen Theatre Festival and the rebirth of Wuzhen as a cultural destination.–Kirk

Source: NYT (11/9/16)
Ancient Town in China Enjoys Profitable Rebirth as a ‘Beautiful Stage’
By AMY QIN

Canals in Wuzhen, a town of about 50,000 that has become a wildly successful example of tourism development in China. Nearly seven million tourists visit every year. CreditGilles Sabrié for The New York Times

WUZHEN, China — On a drizzly afternoon, Liu Hongfei plopped into an empty baby stroller in Wuzhen, a picturesque town in eastern China.

He was wearing dark clothes and red sneakers, his face painted white, a kazoo perched in his mouth.

“Hello?” he rasped, addressing the tourists streaming past. “Is anyone listening?” Continue reading