Faculty Lecture Series 2009 at UH Manoa Hamilton Library

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
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Posted: Mar 9, 2009

Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, director, Asian Theatre Program presents "Shakespeare‘s King Lear at the Shanghai Jingju Company Dream of the King of Qi" on Thursday, March 19, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. at UH Manoa's Hamilton Library, room 301. Doors open at 3:15 p.m.

Admission is free and refreshments will be provided in the Bridge Gallery following the lecture.

Since the early twentieth century, many of Shakespeare‘s plays have been adapted for performance in China. Most productions have been in the Huaju or "spoken drama" form, which is based primarily in Western theatre models, especially realism. The creation of a Xiqu (Chinese "opera") adaptation is substantially more challenging, involving interconnected stylistic as well as cultural negotiations, but some productions have been mounted in various forms of Xiqu, including Jingju (Beijing/Peking "opera"). This presentation examines the creative process for the Shanghai Jingju Company‘s adaptation of Shakespeare‘s King Lear, which included negotiations between perceptions of behavior in Shakespearean England and in contemporay China, between the length and complexity of the Shakespearean script and the lead-actor-centered demands of Jingju performance structure, between Western-based realistic acting and directorial styles and the traditional training and creation processes of Jingju, and between the original Shakespearean themes and the topical thematic interpretations of two contemporary Chinese directors. This intimate look at a unique creative process is illustrated with projected images and sound recording.

Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak is Professor of Theatre and Director of the Asian Theatre Program in UH Manoa's Department of Theatre and Dance. Her ongoing scholarly research concerns the performance structure and aesthetics of Chinese theatre, and the negotiations involved in the creation of new performance pieces. She has also translated and directed six Jingju plays at UH, three of which have toured mainland China at Chinese invitation, and is currently translating a seventh for training and production at UH Manoa in 2009-2010. She is the first honorary (and first non-Chinese) member of both the National Xiqu (Chinese "opera") Institute and the Chinese Theatre Artists Associations of Shanghai and Jiangsu Province, and has received national awards in China for "excellence in research, creation, and performance," and for "outstanding achievements in promoting and developing Jingju."

The Spring 2009 Faculty Lecture Series is presented by the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, Office of Research Relations and the UH Mānoa Library.