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Expressionism and Its Deformation in Contemporary Chinese Theatre

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Yuwen Hsiung

Expressionism and Its Deformation in Contemporary Chinese Theatre provides both rigorous readings of dramatic works as well as a historical overview of Chinese theatre from the 1980s to the present. Expressionism becomes a discursive locus to be incorporated and even transformed during a critical phase in the modernization of Chinese drama during the post-Maoist era.
Six leading Chinese dramatists (Gao Xingjian, Lin Zhaohua, Huang Zuolin, Xu Xiaozhong, Meng Jinghui, and Stan Lai) are clear representatives of opening up a new world of modern Chinese drama. They embody each of the major phases of the adoption, deformation, and multicultural infusion of Expressionism in the development of Chinese dramatic modernization. Approaching their dramatic works from multiple perspectives, including expressionist vision and techniques, comparative aesthetics, Bakhtinian chronotope and heteroglossia, semiotics, «psychic interiority», and concluding with Lu Xun’s definition of Expressionism as «to write a good deal about yourself», Chinese dramatists’ enthusiasm for Expressionism is not just an artistic rejoinder to the spiritual aspirations of life in a time of rapid industrialization and modernization but also a coming-to-terms with the ideological and aesthetic conflicts between different dramatic traditions.
Expressionism and Its Deformation in Contemporary Chinese Theatre is the first scholarly book to explore the deep and intricate relationship between Expressionism and contemporary Chinese drama, attempting to assume the critical task of challenging these dramatists while delineating the contours of the most recent trends of Chinese theatre. This book could situate itself within the Chinese scholarly and theatrical contexts for English readers as it is an accessible text for both undergraduate students and graduates and scholars.

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CHAPTER SEVEN: A White Camellia beyond Signs and Confusion: Stan Lai’s Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land

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CHAPTER SEVEN A White Camellia beyond Signs and Confusion: Stan Lai’s Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land Close examination of the production and evolution of the play, Anlian taohuayuan 暗戀桃花源 (Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land),1 simultaneously leads us into recent developments in Chinese modern drama. Since its strait- crossing version premiered in Beijing in November 2006, the play has been cel- ebrated as the most successful dramatic production in China. At the same time, it takes us back a little more than two decades to the play’s Taipei debut in 1986. The play’s “artistic director,” Lai Sheng-chuan 賴聲川 (Stan Lai), in the mean- time, serves as a suitable figure with which to conclude an examination of Ex- pressionism and its influence on contemporary Chinese drama.2 Born the son of a diplomat in Washington DC in 1954, Stan Lai went back to Taiwan at the age of 12 after his father assumed the official position as spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Taiwan. After spending most of his ado- lescent life in Taiwan, Stan Lai returned to the States at age twenty-four, study- ing at the University of California at Berkeley for his doctorate in Dramatic Art. Following his graduation in 1983, Lai returned to Taiwan and started to teach at Guoli Taipei yishu daxue 國立台北藝術大學 (Taipei National University of the Arts), where he has remained ever since.3 Zhong Mingde 鍾明德, an important scholar who recorded the development ofTaiwan’s Little Theatre Movement during the 1980s, describes the particular importance of Stan Lai’s joining...

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