Interculturalism In Theatre

5882 Words24 Pages
1 Interculturalism in Theatre: Western Plays on Contemporary Chinese Stage Chengzhou He, Nanjing University Abstract: This paper is mainly concerned with some adaptations and performances of Shakespeare, Ibsen and O’Neill since 1978 in China. It argues that those performances have three major characteristics: Firstly, the hybridity of languages. Not only were the classic Chinese and vernacular including dialects mixed, but also Chinese and English/French used together in one performance. Secondly, the interculturalism of mise-en -scene. On the one hand, the performances are characterized by abstractness and simplicity, typical of traditional Chinese theatre; on the other, the modern and postmodern elements of the Western theatre are being absorbed and applied in the performances. Thirdly, the localization of themes. The adaptations of foreign plays seek to deal with the local issues and political concerns rather than the original themes of the foreign plays. Based on the careful analysis of some adaptations and performances of Western plays in contemporary China, this paper conducts b rief theoretical discussions of interculturalism in theatre that have attracted much attention in the drama/theatre studies today. Key words: adaptation, interculturalism, Chinese theatre, Shakespeare, Ibsen, O’Neill Introduction Since the beginning of the 20th century, the adaptations and performances of Western plays play an important role in the Chinese theatre. In those p erformances, W estern plays are translated, appropriated and staged, interweaving Chinese and Western performing cultures. Thus, they are typical examples of intercultural performance. What is intercultural performance? “Intercultural performance in general refers to performance/theatre that consciously or intentionally incorporates elements of performing traditions from disparate
Open Document