Reviews 71 drama are still most popular on the stage in Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre. Comedy sketches 小品, are the most popular art form in the New Year Gala broadcast by China Central Television on every lunar new year’s eve. Farces are often considered philistine and vulgar, and therefore unworthy in literary or dramatic studies, yet they reﬂect the common people’s taste and the psyche of the majority of society. For instance, “The Devil Messenger,” in which a poor carpenter and a shop apprentice trick the neighbors into offering them food and money but later get tricked by his victims in return, has a typical structure of Chinese comedy sketch (opening monologue, plot development [deception/trickery], climax, and a both-party-happy ending). The story shows not only people’s struggle against poverty but their spirit of self-criticism as well as optimism. To sum up, Rea’s book, which presents the reader a brilliant Chinese writer Xu and for the ﬁrst time anthologized Xu’s plays, makes a valuable contribution to the studies of modern Chinese drama and popular culture. Rea’s translation does justice to Xu’s humorous narration and witty language. One can expect more studies on Xu (hopefully his works of huajixi, which are
China Review International – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 6, 2020
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