Alternative Chinese Opera in the Age of Globalization: by Daphne P. Lei

By Daphne P. Lei

Bringing the learn of chinese language theatre into the 21st-century, Lei discusses ways that conventional artwork can live on and thrive within the age of modernization and globalization. development on her earlier paintings, this new booklet makes a speciality of a variety of kinds of chinese language "opera" in destinations round the Pacific Rim, together with Hong Kong, Taiwan and California.

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33 Although the competition sharpened the actors’ skills and motivation, the focus on patriotic themes narrowed their choice of plays. The unusual political climate in Taiwan sheltered traditional jingju from the Cultural Revolution and ensured the continuation of the art form during 32 Alternative Chinese Opera tumultuous times. 34 Modern jingju in Transition: Early new jingju and early Innovative Jingju The concept of modernity in traditional arts is riddled with ambiguities and relativism. One might argue that jingju was modernized first in the early twentieth century with the introduction of contemporary costume and themes, modernized a second time in the CCP’s ideology-driven model plays of the mid-twentieth century, modernized again with Western theatricalization and interculturalism in Taiwan in the 1980s, and modernized once more at the turn of the millennium with fresh ideas for composition and staging.

Something magical had to happen, and it had to happen fast. The KMT government, exhausted after enduring the long Pacific War, the Chinese civil wars, and the economic crisis of the late 1940s, desperately needed cultural tools to help it ease the transitional pain. Horng-Luen Wang explains the complicated relations between cultural object and nation. It is through institutions that a nation is constructed as a real entity and a culture is formulated as an object that the nation owns. ”12 However, national culture, the apparently natural secretion of a nation, is usually not organically formed.

The new form, which I term “Innovative Jingju,” has supplied the oxygen that Taiwan jingju desperately needs at this moment. Although it arose out of necessity, I argue that Innovative Jingju not only reflects the form’s struggle against local hegemony, but also demonstrates a multicultural Taiwan identity and a uniquely experimental artistic quality, which in turn help revitalize the moribund traditional art form across 23 24 Alternative Chinese Opera the transnational Chinese world. Moreover, the “gender” of the genre is also under reconstruction and reconsideration because of disproportional female participation in the production and consumption of the art.

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