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

Dance version of Bi Feiyu’s The Moon Opera

Source: Global Times (10/115)
Wang’s ‘The Moon’ wows audiences

A scene from The Moon Opera Photo: Courtesy of Zhang Xiaolei

It’s no surprise that writer Bi Feiyu’s novel The Moon Opera has been adapted into various art forms from small screen TV dramas to big screen movies and even modern dance. However, people who have seen the trial performances in Shijiazhuang in Hebei Province in late September and the official debut at the National Center for The Performing Arts in Beijing from October 4-6, were surprised to find that the dance version presented by dancer Wang Yabin surpassed their expectation for a dance drama. A melding of modern and classic dance forms, The Moon Opera by Wang Yabin portrays both the stage career and emotional life of an opera performer, said a review by Beijing Youth Daily. Continue reading

Sha Yexin on ‘The Conscience of Hu Yaobang’

Source: Sinosphere, NYT (11/19/15)
Q. and A.: Sha Yexin on ‘The Conscience of Hu Yaobang’
By Vanessa Piao

The Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, left, and Hu Yaobang, the Communist Party chief, saluting as they reviewed a military parade in 1981. Credit Xinhua, via Kyodo News, via Associated Press

With the Nov. 20 centennial of the birth of the Communist Party chief and political reformer Hu Yaobang, the playwright Sha Yexin felt it was time to write about the man he reveres — and who personally approved his application for party membership.

Mr. Sha, 76, has long combined theater and politics. He is a former director of the Shanghai People’s Theater and has written a series of acclaimed but controversial plays, including “If I Were Real” (1979), satirizing party privileges, and “I Am Chairman Mao’s Bitch” (1991), about Jiang Qing and her husband, Mao Zedong. He is a signatory of Charter 08 a manifesto for greater political rights, and is vice president of the Independent Chinese PEN Center. Many of his works remain banned in China because they touch on politically sensitive subjects, including the 1989 military suppression of protests in and around Tiananmen Square, which were precipitated by Mr. Hu’s death. Continue reading

White-Haired Girl returns to stage

Source: Sinosphere (11/10/15)
‘White-Haired Girl,’ Opera Created Under Mao, Returns to Stage
By CHRIS BUCKLEY

A scene from a new production of the revolutionary opera “The White-Haired Girl,” which had its premiere in Yan’an, China, the Communists’ wartime stronghold.

A scene from a new production of the revolutionary opera “The White-Haired Girl,” which had its premiere in Yan’an, China, the Communists’ wartime stronghold.Credit Lu Xu/Chinese Ministry of Culture

Mao Zedong was said to have been moved to tears when he watched an early performance of “The White-Haired Girl,” an opera created to meet his call for rousing revolutionary art. And under President Xi Jinping, a revival is on the road, reinvented once more to appeal to a Communist Party leader’s stringently ideological tastes.

The opera was first performed in 1945 in Yan’an, the Communists’ revolutionary base in northwestern China, inspired by Mao’sprecepts for revolutionary art and literature delivered at a landmark forum in 1942. The Ministry of Culture said it had revived the story in response to Mr. Xi’s own landmark speech last year on the role of the arts in China, when he demanded politically wholesome art cleansed of decadence.

The revival had its premiere in Yan’an on Friday, and performances are planned in nine additional Chinese cities, culminating in Beijing in mid-December, the Ministry of Culture said in an emailed statement. Continue reading