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The Emerging Role of the Director in Chinese Xiqu

The Emerging Role of the Director in Chinese Xiqu debut panel papers Megan Evans As with so many traditional performing arts, xiqu (the umbrella term encompassing the more than three hundred regional forms of Chinese opera) and particularly jingju (Beijing opera, the one nationally prominent form of xiqu) is perceived by its artists, scholars, and fans as being in a state of crisis. Owing to a complex web of factors, including interruption of traditional conduits of transmission during the Cultural Revolution (1966­1976) and a massive increase of competing forms of entertainment (both foreign and domestic) beginning in 1976 with the policy of "Reform and Opening Up" (gaige kaifang), audiences for xiqu, at least in Beijing,1 are declining precipitously. At the same time, companies must rely increasingly on box office revenues to support their work (Wichmann-Walczak 2000: 96 ­98; "Renewed theatre shakes off old image" 2004: 1­3). Thus there has been a general call for innovation in all aspects of xiqu performance to lure back audiences. Traditionally xiqu did not use a director, and one common tactic employed to facilitate innovation was to bring in directors trained in Western-style realistic spoken drama (huaju). By the early 1990s, this experiment was generally thought to have been a failure, because http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Asian Theatre Journal University of Hawai'I Press

The Emerging Role of the Director in Chinese Xiqu

Asian Theatre Journal , Volume 24 (2) – Sep 26, 2007

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2007 The University of Hawai'i Press. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1527-2109
Publisher site
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Abstract

debut panel papers Megan Evans As with so many traditional performing arts, xiqu (the umbrella term encompassing the more than three hundred regional forms of Chinese opera) and particularly jingju (Beijing opera, the one nationally prominent form of xiqu) is perceived by its artists, scholars, and fans as being in a state of crisis. Owing to a complex web of factors, including interruption of traditional conduits of transmission during the Cultural Revolution (1966­1976) and a massive increase of competing forms of entertainment (both foreign and domestic) beginning in 1976 with the policy of "Reform and Opening Up" (gaige kaifang), audiences for xiqu, at least in Beijing,1 are declining precipitously. At the same time, companies must rely increasingly on box office revenues to support their work (Wichmann-Walczak 2000: 96 ­98; "Renewed theatre shakes off old image" 2004: 1­3). Thus there has been a general call for innovation in all aspects of xiqu performance to lure back audiences. Traditionally xiqu did not use a director, and one common tactic employed to facilitate innovation was to bring in directors trained in Western-style realistic spoken drama (huaju). By the early 1990s, this experiment was generally thought to have been a failure, because

Journal

Asian Theatre JournalUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Sep 26, 2007

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