What should a story tell in a play? How should it be told? From ancient times to present days, different eras have different narrative strategies and concerned issues. Since Lionel Abel introduced his coined term “metatheatre” in 1963, contemporary discussions regarding theatrical structures have abounded. Yet, studies of classic Xiqus from the perspective of meta remain relatively limited—with only some discussions regarding contemporary Xiqus. In fact, there have already been quite a few Xiqus in Yuan-Ming-Qing Dynasties that reflect and express profound sarcasm about social life from Zhang Xie Zhuang Yuan onwards. Abel holds that only Western culture is capable of creating and advancing theatrical forms like metatheatre, which is not true. In effect, there are plenty of modern and contemporary Xiqus, whose forms fit into what Richard Hornby classifies as “a play within a play” and whose performances fully interpret and present the notions that “life is a play” and that “the real is false.” Then, what does “meta” means in Chinese traditional theatre? What effects can it achieves? How is it touched upon in Xiqus of different eras? To answer these questions, the three year project will, first, read, refer to, re-organize a large number of metadrama/metatheatre theories and critical essays, and attempt at a modification of the Western theoretical system of metadrama/metatheatre as well as a much carefully constructed meta-theory of Cinese Xiqu. Second, the project will examine Xiqus in Yuan-Ming-Qing Dynasties (primarily Zaju, Nanxi, and Chuanqi) and modern and contemporary Xiqus (including traditional Xiqus and experimental Xiqus) as well as investigate into whether and how meta elements are deployed in these Xiqus in terms of form, content, and different theatrical layers—including self-consciousness, reference as well as perception of life and reality.
|Effective start/end date
|2018/08/01 → 2019/07/31
- play within a play
- role playing
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