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Post-Cold War Experimental Theatre of China: Staging Globalisation and Its Resistance
WEI, ZHEYU
This thesis is a study of Chinese experimental theatre from the year 1990 to the year 2014, to examine the involvement of Chinese theatre in the process of globalisation ? the increasingly intensified relationship between places that are far away from one another but that are connected by the movement of flows on a global scale and the consciousness of the world as a whole. The central argument of this thesis is that Chinese post-Cold War experimental theatre has been greatly influenced by the trend of globalisation. This dissertation discusses the work of a number of representative figures in the 'Little Theatre Movement' in mainland China since the 1980s, e.g. Lin Zhaohua, Meng Jinghui, Zhang Xian, etc., whose theatrical experiments have had a strong impact on the development of contemporary Chinese theatre, and inspired a younger generation of theatre practitioners. Through both close reading of literary and visual texts, and the inspection of secondary texts such as interviews and commentaries, an overview of performances mirroring the age-old Chinese culture's struggle under the unprecedented modernising and globalising pressure in the post-Cold War period will be provided. Case studies of experimental theatre performances are classified into three thematic dimensions which respectively signify the political, economic and social/cultural tension between China and globalisation. Each of the three approaches warrants its own chapter. Chapter One focuses on political theatre, in which the oppression of ideologies and clash of civilisations are explicitly portrayed. Chapter Two covers plays that concern changes in society resulting from the economic reform since 1990. In Chapter Three, plays concerning conflicts between Chinese and Western cultures are examined to explore how Chineseness is constructed in relation to the imagination of globalisation. In this research, analysis will touch upon two levels of the interaction between Chinese theatre and the process of globalisation. The first level is a close examination of the 'economic base' of Chinese experimental theatre, which since 1990 has undergone a major transformation from being government-supported to being market-supported or semi-market-supported. The second level is how the dramatists, aware of their new roles in the globalised theatre industry, actively engaged in rising consumerism to present their experiences and imagination on the contemporary Chinese stage. To evaluate and critique experimental theatre within the condition of globalisation, Gerard Delanty's idea of critical cosmopolitanism concerned with 'the identification of moments of self-transformation in contexts in which there is an expansion in reflexive capacities and ultimately in those situations in which something undergoes normative transformation from the encounter with the Other' will be a tool of assessment in this thesis. The self-reflexivity embedded in cosmopolitanism can build a neutral ground for ethical judgements. The analysis of Chinese experimental theatre yields a better understanding as to the development of Chinese theatre in the last twenty-five years or so. More importantly, the analysis illustrates theatre's opportunities to bring about dialogues, reforms, and reconciliations, and to pursue the ethics of openness and equity in globalisation ? the ethics of cosmopolitanism.
Keyword(s): Chinese experimental theatre; globalisation; cosmopolitanism
Publication Date:
2017
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Citation(s): WEI, ZHEYU, Post-Cold War Experimental Theatre of China: Staging Globalisation and Its Resistance, Trinity College Dublin.School of Creative Arts.DRAMA, 2017
Publisher(s): Trinity College Dublin. School of Creative Arts. Discipline of Drama
Supervisor(s): Singleton, Brian
First Indexed: 2017-10-29 06:38:52 Last Updated: 2020-10-30 07:43:32