reviews CHINESE THEORIES OF THEATER AND PERFORMANCE FROM CONFUCIUS TO THE PRESENT edited and translated by Faye Chunfang Fei. Foreword by Richard Schechner. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. 213 pp. Cloth $44.50 Unlike India's Natyasastra or the Japanese treatises of Zeami, the majority of classical theories of xiqu, Chinese traditional theatre, have never before been translated into English. Faye Fei's Chinese Theories of Theater and Performance makes a significant improvement in this situation. The first half of her book (Parts 13) covers a lengthy period from antiquity to the nineteenth century. Part 1 (400 b.c.a.d. 1279) considers ancient performance theories and entertainment records. The doctrines of Confucian scholars insist that dynasty hymns harmonize relations between heaven and human beings and regulate social behavior whereas popular amusements corrupt the people and society. Literary sources, on the other hand, testify to the sophistication of miscellaneous shows in ancient times. Parts 2 and 3 cover the three dynasties of Yuan, Ming, and Qing (12791911) when theatre flourished throughout the country. Fei's selection includes drama reviews, theatre memoirs, acting manuals, and theoretical writings. Maturity and specialization in theatre arts mark the writings of this period. The second half of the
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Sep 1, 2000
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