Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Globalization: by Daphne P. Lei (auth.)

By Daphne P. Lei (auth.)

Bringing the research of chinese language theatre into the 21st-century, Lei discusses ways that conventional artwork can live on and thrive within the age of modernization and globalization. construction on her earlier paintings, this new publication specializes in a variety of varieties of chinese language 'opera' in destinations round the Pacific Rim, together with Hong Kong, Taiwan and California.

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Sample text

As nativization and Taiwanization became the official artistic line, politicizing jingju was adopted as an emergency strategy to protect it in the politically unfriendly climate of the late 1990s. The first big production of Innovative Jingju, after the drastic downsizing and merging of military troupes, was The Taiwan Trilogy (Taiwan sanbuqu): Mazu (1998), Zheng Chenggong and Taiwan (Zheng Chenggong yu Taiwan, 1999), and Liao Tianding (1999). 41 As noted earlier, military support had meant that jingju in Taiwan was politicized from the beginning.

And because of its incomplete deconstruction of jingju, this 22 Alternative Chinese Opera production appeared awkward and confused, despite certain technical wonders in its staging. Still, despite the sense that its best traditional features had been distorted or even battered, jingju managed to survive the challenge and shine through the maestro’s heavy cloud. Retrofuturistic nostalgia helped pave a new path and present a glimpse of hope for Taiwan jingju, jingju without the Beijing family name.

Because of its limited subject matter and its aging audience, traditional jingju was losing its appeal. Guo Xiaozhuang’s (1951–) Yayin Ensemble (Yayin xiaoji, founded in 1979) was the first successful experiment with new jingju in Taiwan. Guo had a number of successful productions in the 1980s and early 1990s. Her approach was to re-examine jingju through the lens of “modern” concepts derived from Western theatre, in terms of dramaturgy, direction, lighting and set design, script, and even music.

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