Wuzhen Theatre Festival

Source: Global Times (10/24/16)
Wuzhen Theatre Festival striving to become the world’s best
By Sun Shuangjie

Street performers pose for a photo during the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in October in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Wuzhen Tourism Co., Ltd

Street performers pose for a photo during the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in October in Wuzhen, Zhejiang Province. Photo: Courtesy of Wuzhen Tourism Co., Ltd

If “China speed” has become a synonym for ground-breaking and tremendous economic growth of the country since its reform and opening-up, then “Wuzhen speed” is very likely to become an epitome of the city’s ambitious changes in the field of culture and art in the future.

From October 13 to 22, the 4th Wuzhen Theatre Festival staged a total of 79 performances by 22 invited productions, half of which came from Europe, at 13 theaters, while also expanding its regular programs to include two exhibitions and five forums about theatrical art and the theater industry. Participants at the forums included members from the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC), 16 artistic directors from central and eastern Europe, as well as art festival directors and cultural officials from seven Arabian countries. Continue reading

Rethinking the Princess Wencheng story

Source: Washington Post (10/11/16)
In Tibet, History bows down before propaganda in the tale of a royal romance
By Simon Denyer

It is an epic tale of love between a teenage princess and a noble emperor, of the first bonds of friendship between China and Tibet that sprung up more than 15 centuries ago. It is a tale of how China brought civilization to its barbarous west, rendered in lavish operatic form.

But this is more than an operatic romanticization of ancient history, it is a deliberate attempt, experts say, to rewrite history in the service of propaganda. Continue reading

Association for Asian Performance–cfp

Association for Asian Performance (AAP) Sponsored Sessions
at the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) 2017 Conference

AAP invites full paper panel and multidisciplinary session proposals that explore the 2017 ATHE theme and its manifestations in Asian performance, including but not limited to performance traditions of Asian regions and the theory, practice, and/or pedagogy of Asian performance from transnational and multidisciplinary perspectives. We encourage and welcome creative engagements with the 2017 ATHE theme. To learn more about the AAP and membership benefits please visit the AAP website: www.yavanika.org/aaponline/.

Conference Dates and Location
August 3 to 6, 2017
Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

Submission Deadline
November 1, 2016 (complete session proposals and technology requests; direct submission to ATHE)
Guidelines for submission (with link to online form) is at http://www.athe.org/general/custom.asp?page=17_CFP

Conference Theme:
Spectacle: balancing education, theory, and praxis #ATHE2017OfBreadAndCircuses
(See complete statement of conference theme at http://www.athe.org/?page=17_Theme) Continue reading

Interview with Stan Lai

Source: Sinosphere, NYT (9/13/16)
Theater’s Evolving Role in China and Taiwan
By AMY QIN

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A scene from a production of “A Dream Like a Dream” by Stan Lai in Beijing. The play has audiences sitting on swivel chairs in the center of the stage. Credit: Gao Yan Bing

Over the past few decades, Stan Lai has established a reputation as one of the most celebrated Chinese-language playwrights and directors. His works include more than 30 original plays, two feature films and four operas. Mr. Lai, who was born in the United States and is based in Taiwan, has written classics like “Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land” (1986), now an iconic play in contemporary Chinese theater, while still continuing to experiment with new forms, as seen in his eight-hour epic “A Dream Like a Dream” (2000), which has audiences sitting on swivel chairs in the center of the stage. Continue reading

Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu

University of Leeds news and media call (For immediate release: 01/06/16)
Global theatre collaboration celebrates Shakespeare and his Chinese counterpart

This year marks not only 400 years since the death of Shakespeare, but also that of the great Ming dynasty playwright Tang Xianzu.

dreamingWilliam Shakespeare and Tang Xianzu: Celebrating a 400 Year Legacy, is a unique global collaboration organised by the University of Leeds to create a new stage production to commemorate both anniversaries, featuring university students from both the UK and China.

Working around the common theme of dreams, students in Beijing and Yorkshire have been simultaneously rehearsing on opposite sides of the globe and will come together this summer for back-to-back performances of contemporary adaptions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tang’s Nanke-ji (A Dream Under the Southern Bough) in Leeds (where it will premiere in late July), at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and major cities in China including Fuzhou – Tang’s birthplace.

This event will be a chance to see an open rehearsal for the Yorkshire half of the performance, with UK students preparing DREAMING Under the Southern Bough, an adaption of Tang Xianzu’s play. Continue reading

Pop Goes the Avant-Garde review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Claire Conceison’s review of Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China (Seagull Books, 2012), by Rossella Ferrari. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/conceison/

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk A. Denton, editor MCLC

Pop Goes the Avant-Garde:
Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China

By Rossella Ferrari


Reviewed by Claire Conceison
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright June, 2016)


Rossella Ferrari, Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China. London: Seagull Books, 2012. 365pp., 40 Halftones. ISBN: 13 978 0 8574 2 045 9. Paper: $25.00

Rossella Ferrari, Pop Goes the Avant-Garde: Experimental Theatre in Contemporary China. London: Seagull Books, 2012. 365pp., 40 Halftones. ISBN: 13 978 0 8574 2 045 9. Paper: $25.00

Rossella Ferrari is a bright light in the field of Chinese theatre and contemporary Chinese cultural studies, and Pop Goes the Avant-Garde is the most significant book in recent years about theatre in China. It is a valuable contribution to the disciplines of theatre studies, performance studies, cultural studies, Sinology, and Asian studies more broadly. Compellingly written and impeccably researched, it succeeds in providing a long-overdue assessment of the avant-garde in late twentieth and early twenty-first century Chinese culture and art circles and records the first comprehensive study of the pioneering theater work of Meng Jinghui 孟京辉 and his singular impact on the avant-garde in China. Published by Seagull Books and distributed by University of Chicago Press, Pop Goes the Avant-Garde offers superb analysis and production context for some of the plays that will soon be available in an anthology of five of Meng Jinghui’s works in English published by the same press.[1] Beyond this, Ferrari provides valuable theoretical context, performance reconstruction, and behind-the-scenes details of the development of experimental theater in contemporary China, especially that of Meng, its most acclaimed enfant terrible. Continue reading

Mei Baojiu dies at 82

Source: SCMP (4/26/16)
Mei Baojiu: China’s renowned Peking opera master dies aged 82
Youngest son of Peking opera legend Mei Lanfang was devoted to his art, considering it his lifetime mission to pass it on to the younger generation
By Zhuang Pinghui

Mei Baojiu

Peking opera master Mei Baojiu, known for his portrayal of elegant female roles, died in Beijing on Monday morning after 26 days in hospital. He was 82.

Mei had slipped into a coma after experiencing breathing problems, according to his obituary from the Beijing Peking Opera Theatre, where he led the Mei Lanfang Peking Opera Troupe.

He had reportedly collapsed during lunch on March 31, two days after his 82nd birthday.

Born in Shanghai in 1934, Mei was the youngest son of renowned Peking opera legend Mei Lanfang. The elder Mei was known for his Dan, or female roles. Continue reading

Gao Xingjian’s Post-Exile Plays review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Todd J. Coulter’s review of Gao Xingjian’s Post-Exile Plays: Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre (Bloomsbury Metheun Drama, 2015), by Mary Mazzilli. The review appears below, but is best read at its online home here:

http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/coulter/

My thanks to Nicholas Kaldis, MCLC literary studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Best,
Kirk Denton, MCLC editor

Gao Xingjian’s Post-Exile Plays:
Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre

By Mary Mazzilli


Reviewed by Todd J. Coulter
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April, 2016)


Mary Mazzilli. Gao Xingjian’s Post-Exile Plays: Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre. New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2015. vii, 262 pp. ISBN13: 9781472591609 $149.00 (cloth)

Mary Mazzilli. Gao Xingjian’s Post-Exile Plays: Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre. New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2015. vii, 262 pp. ISBN13: 9781472591609 $149.00 (cloth)

Not far into her new book, Gao Xingjian’s Post-Exile Plays: Transnationalism and Postdramatic Theatre, Mary Mazzilli laments the lack of attention, outside of certain narrow circles, to Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian. Why do more people not know about this playwright, author, painter, and filmmaker, she wonders? Although Mazzilli does not mobilize the entirety of Gao’s varied artistic oeuvre in making her case, the mere publication of her book serves as an important step in bringing Gao to a wider audience. In a book market that seems to be moving further away from relatively obscure topics like Gao, this is a significant achievement.

The book offers in-depth analyses of Gao’s plays written since his self-imposed exile in France in 1987. Although others (myself included) have taken up similar topics,[1] Mazzilli brings Gao’s work into the conversations surrounding narrative and drama today. In short, the book is comprised of deep readings of Gao’s post-exile plays through the framework of Elinor Fuchs’The Death of Character and Hans-Thies Lehmann’s Postdramatic Theatre. Continue reading

Why Dream of the Red Chamber is virtually unknown in the West (2,3)

The playwright, novelist, and translator Jeremy Tiang has adapted the novel into an off broadway play:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/30/theater/review-a-dream-of-red-pavilions-a-love-story-born-in-the-spirit-world.html?_r=0

Darryl Sterk <shidailun@gmail.com>

===========================

tisa chang’s production of jeremy tiang’s adaptation just closed at panasian rep in NYC:

http://www.panasianrep.org/productionevents.shtml

claire conceison <claireco@mit.edu>

Why Dream of the Red Chamber is virtually unknown in the West (1)

David Henry Hwang and Bright Sheng have done an adaptation of the novel which will be performed by the San Francisco Opera this September.  Here is an interview in which they discuss the process of making the novel into an accessible opera.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Vt9V1uo0c4 

ann waltner <waltn001@umn.edu>

Theater brings art, dwarfs out of the shadows (1)

Two students, Yang Yijing from Communication University of China and Laura Yilmaz from USC, produced a short 10-minute documentary on this theatre troupe in 2009.

List members can watch it at: http://china.usc.edu/documenting-global-city-project-beijing-2009-shadow-house-%E5%94%B1%E5%BD%B1 or below:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLGkRBCuNf8&list=PL30FD5F0382C99E98&index=19

Best wishes,
Clayton Dube <cdube@asc.usc.edu>

Theater brings art, dwarfs out of the shadows

Source: Sinosphere, NYT (12/18/15)
A Theater in China That Brings Art, and Dwarfs, Out of the Shadows
点击查看本文中文版 Read in Chinese
By ZHAN HUILAN

The puppeteers, singers and musicians onstage after a performance at the Dragon in the Sky Shadow Puppet Playhouse. Credit Zhan Huilan

At the Dragon in the Sky Shadow Puppet Playhouse here, the silhouette of Princess Iron Fan was shouting furiously at the Monkey King. She thrust her sword at him, as he leapt up, grasping his golden cudgel.

It was an episode from the classic Chinese tale “Journey to the West,” in which the Monkey King struggles to get hold of Princess Iron Fan’s fan to extinguish the blaze on the Mountain of Flames. The characters, figures cut from donkey leather and manipulated with rods, were backlit against a cloth screen, in an art form that goes back 2,000 years and has been included in the intangible cultural heritage list by the United Nations’ cultural heritage agency. Continue reading

Marry Me

Source: Shanghai Daily (12/4/15)
Passions, commitments collide in marriage drama
By Nie Xin

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“MARRY Me,” an original Chinese stage drama, is now playing at the Jasmine Flower Theater through Sunday.

The play focuses on the trials and tribulations of three young couples, with ample doses of drama and suspense interspersed with observations about love and relationships.

According to writer and director Ding Jianfei, the play is meant to be a sympathetic portrayal of modern marriage in China.

“Our generation, the post-1980s generation, is stepping into marriage. Some of us get married blindly or unwillingly,” said Ding. “We don’t really know the meaning of love or the truth of marriage. Sometimes couples… end up hiding themselves.” Continue reading

Small theaters

Source: Global Times (11/23/15)
A more intimate space
Smaller theaters having time of their lives
By Xinhua

The Star Theater in Beijing Photo: IC

Outside, it was a bitter winter evening in Beijing. The driving rain meant traffic slowed to a crawl. Inside the Star Theater, a warm and comfortable audience were raising the rafters, as usual.

This scene being played out in the Star Theater can be witnessed at all kinds of small theaters across China. Over the past decade, intimate spaces for performance have become an indispensable part of many people’s cultural lives.

Drama brings opportunities

As the quality of drama has improved, these smaller theaters are experiencing a wave of popularity and with it, prosperity. There is a much wider variety of plays across different genres in China today, attracting more people to the theater. Continue reading