Shen Lin's "What Use Shakespeare? China and Globalization" (pp. 219233) was probably the most pointed essay in the book. It details a number of jingju Shakespeares in recent years. He examines the postperformance audience discussions of Kingdom of Desire (Macbeth, Contemporary Legend Theatre), noting, "Half the discussants liked the show because it was not Shakespeare [but rather jingjiu] and half disliked it because it was not [the customary Chinese] Shakespeare: much ado about Shakespeare." Shen Lin states: "The lure of festivals and marketplaces abroad belies any wishful thinking that the staging of Shakespeare is meant to save Chinese traditional art," but instead, "Shakespeare is a symbol of the language in which he wrote [and its current economic power]" (pp. 222223). A Yue opera director explains the use of Shakespeare: "Simply because it has been difficult to find original scripts" (p. 231). Shen Lin brutally concludes that "Shakespeare allows us to avoid the troubled issues of meaning and significance" (p. 231). This use of Shakespeare to avoid addressing the issues that rack our time is well known in contemporary Western commercial theatre. It drives millions around the globe to outdoor venues in warm weather, as Shakespearean actors strut and
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: May 28, 2011
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