Indigenous Chinese Theatre or Xiqu

 

Lecturer:

Sun Mei, Professor in Department of Chinese Literature

Aims of Course:

This course will provide a comprehensive study of the Chinese drama and theatre, and it will give unique insights into Chinese culture and history, including topics such as cultural atmosphere in late imperial China, the position of drama in traditional Chinese literature, the historical development of xiqu from folk art to literati creation.

Content of Course:

The major sub-genres, such as nanxi, Yuan zaju, Ming-Qing chuanqi, kunqu, and jingju (Beijing opera) will be examined, and significant examples will be covered.

Introduction
Samuel L. Leiter, “Editor’s Note,” Asian Theatre Journal, 15.1 (1998): iii-vi.
Mei Sun, “Xiqu, the Indigenous Chinese Theater,” Asian Culture, 26.2 (1998): 1-12.
Historical Background and Cultural Atmosphere
John Winthrop Haeger, Introduction: Crisis and Prosperity in Sung China, pp.1-12.
Evelyn Rawski, “Economic and Social Foundation of Late Imperial Culture,” In Popular Culture in Late Imperial China, ed. David Johnson, pp.3-33.
The Emergence of Chinese Drama
Victor H. Mair, Tun-huang Popular Narratives, pp.1-28.
William Dolby, “Early Chinese Plays and Theater,” in Chinese Theater: from its Origins to the Present Day, ed. Colin Mackerras, pp.7-31.
Nanxi in the Song and Yuan Dynasties
Mei Sun, “Exploring the Historical Development of Nanxi, Southern Theater,” CHINOPERL PAPERS No.24 (2002): 35-65.
Mei Sun, “Performances of Nanxi,” Asian Theatre Journal, 13.2 (1996): 141-166.
Zaju in the Yuan Dynasty
William Dolby, “Yuan Drama,” in Chinese Theater: from its Origins to the Present Day, ed. Colin Mackerras, pp.34-59.
J. I. Crump, Chinese Theater in the Days of Kublai Khan, pp.177-196.
Chuanqi in the Ming and Qing Dynasties
John Hu, “Ming Dynasty Drama,” in Chinese Theater: from its Origins to the Present Day, ed. Colin Mackerras, pp.60-77.
Cyril Birch, Scenes for Mandarins: The Elite Theater of the Ming, pp. 1-19.
Xiqu in Modern China)
Elizabeth Wichmann, Listening to Theatre: The Aural Dimension of Beijing Opera, pp.12-24.
Mei Sun, “China,” in The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre, ed. Colin Chambers, pp.154-156.
Mei Sun, “Xiqu’s Problems in Contemporary China,” The Journal of Contemporary China, Summer (1994): 74-83.

Sets of readings will be distributed ahead of time.  English audio-visual materials will be employed to convey information during lectures.

Requirements:

All materials should be read before the class for which they are assigned.  Through lectures, class discussions, and in-class presentations, students will gain a familiarity with the historical development, masterpieces, and authors of traditional Chinese drama and theatre.

References:

Chambers, Colin.  Ed.The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre. (London: Continuum, 2002).
Cyril Birch, Scenes for Mandarins: The Elite Theater of the Ming.  (New York: Columbia UP, 1995).
Crump, J. I.  Chinese Theater in the Days of Kublai Khan.  (Tucson : U Arizona P, 1980).
Haeger, John Winthrop.  Ed.  Crisis and Prosperity in Sung China. (Tucson : U Arizona P, 1975).
Johnson, David.  Ed.  Popular culture in late imperial China.  (Berkeley: U California P, 1985).
Leiter, Samuel L.  “Editor’s Note,” Asian Theatre Journal, 15.1 (1998).
Mackerras, Colin.  Ed.  Chinese Theater: from its origins to the present day.  (Honolulu: U Hawaii P, 1983).
Mair, Victor H.  Tun-huang Popular Narratives.  (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1983).
Sun, Mei. “Exploring the Historical Development of Nanxi, Southern Theater,” CHINOPERL PAPERS No.24 (2002).
---. “Xiqu, the Indigenous Chinese Theater,” Asian Culture, 26.2 (1998).
---. “Performances of Nanxi,”Asian Theatre Journal, 13.2 (1996).
---. “Xiqu’s Problems in Contemporary China,” The Journal of Contemporary China, Summer (1994).
Wichmann, Elizabeth. Listening to Theatre: The Aural Dimension of Beijing Opera (Honolulu: U Hawaii P, 1991).