Opera Quarterly. Spring/Summer2010, Vol. 26 Issue 2/3, p200-219. 20p. 12 Black and White Photographs.
OPERA singers, DRAG queens, GESTURE in opera, and ACTING
The article discusses the work of Chinese opera performer and female impersonator Mei Lanfang, who has starred in films such as "Dream of the Garden" ("Youyuan jingmeng"), and his use of gestures in films of Kun opera. Of particular note is a gesture made with one's eyes, which was typical of performances of Kun operas. Mei's acting style and his association with screenwriter and choreographer Qi Rushan is discussed, particularly how the two men used acting and gestures to preserve traditional Chinese opera.
CHINESE operas, COMMUNITY theater, PERFORMING arts, and HISTORY
As scholars propelled the study of Chinese opera into the twentieth century, they turned to collecting as their main research method, determined to ground their new discipline on a strong material base. Scholars such as Qi Rushan (1875–1962) and Zhang Cixi (1909–1968) explored every corner of Beijing, the one-time imperial capital, in search of a wide variety of materials not previously subjected to critical examination. Several of the city's distinctive traits—thriving urban theaters, a rich tradition of imperial performances, and lively cultural marketplaces—enabled researchers to expand the conception and scope of what study materials could be. Beyond that, scholarly exchanges between China and Japan led to the reevaluation of once-overlooked texts of theatrical connoisseurship. The collection and publication of those texts equipped Chinese opera researchers with new resources to grow an emerging field of knowledge. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]