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
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
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 Köroğlu, Manas is considered one of the great Turkic epic poems. Continue reading
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
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
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
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: 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
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: 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
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
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.
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 Cultural Revolution: A Presentation featuring Zheng Shengtian and Chen Xiaomei
Wednesday, March 29, 6:30-8:00pm
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
The Pilot of Digital Library of Chinese Theatre is ready to be viewed:
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
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
Source: Global Times (12/25/16)
Hit black comedy stage play to return to Beijing’s Gulou West Theater on 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