Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 17, no. 2 (2000)

Editor’s Note
Samuel L. Leiter, p. iii


Ehon Gappô ga Tsuji: A Kabuki Drama of Unfettered Evil by Tsuruya Nanboku IV
translated and introduced by Paul B. Kennelly, p. 149

Early nineteenth-century Japanese theatre was dominated by the kabuki playwright Tsuruya Nanboku IV, who seized on the fascination with evil and the vendetta in contemporary literature to create a new type of kabuki play. This genre–of which Ehon Gappô ga Tsuji is the finest example–focuses on the role types of the handsome young villain (iroaku) and wicked woman (akuba).

Paul Kennelly holds a Ph.D. in kabuki theatre from the University of Sydney and is pursuing research at the Waseda University Theatre Museum. Two of his kabuki translations are scheduled for publication in the forthcoming Kabuki Plays On-Stage series edited by James R. Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter.


Aristotle’s Poetics, Bharatamuni’s Natyasastra, and Zeami’s Treatises: Theory as Discourse
Graham Ley, p. 191

Scholars have often pursued comparative studies of major traditions of theatrical theory (Greek, Sanskrit, and ), and the theories themselves are often used as windows on vanished modes of performance. This article, however, considers the theoretical treatises as discourses that advance claims about the status of theatre and establish value through the creation of standards for achievement. The author situates treatises on the art of theatre in the context of philosophical debate (Greek), religious and ethical writing (Sanskrit), and courtly aesthetics (Japanese) and examines the question of discursive communities and those to whom theatrical theory is addressed.

Graham Ley studied Greek at the University of Oxford and Renaissance culture at the Warburg Institute in London. He lectures in drama at the University of Exeter, where he teaches a comparative course on theatrical and performance theory. His study of European and American theory, From Mimesis to Interculturalism: Readings of Theatrical Theory Before and After Modernism, was published in 1999, and he has written widely on performance in the ancient Greek theatre.

Edward Gordon Craig and Japanese Theatre
Sang-Kyong Lee, p. 215

Edward Gordon Craig’s conception of theatre was stimulated not only by the European past but also by the Far East, especially the Japanese theatre. This influence can be claimed in particular for his endeavors to devise an aesthetic in which all the arts combined on stage to create a “total” theatre and in his emphasis on dance and color symbolism. Professor Lee’s essay offers a detailed account of the myriad ways in which Craig was influenced by traditional Japanese theatre.

Sang-Kyong Lee, born in Korea, teaches comparative drama and Far Eastern theatre at the University of Vienna. He holds a doctorate from the University of Innsbruck and has been a visiting professor in Japan and Switzerland. Professor Lee has published six books (four in German, one in Japanese, and one in English) and ninety articles, has edited two books, and has translated three Korean novels into German.

Fifty Years On: Arts Funding in Kerala Today
Diane Daugherty, p. 237

This article examines the funding of three performing arts of Kerala, considered India’s most progressive state. The data collected by Diane Daugherty during the yearlong Golden Jubilee celebration of Indian independence reveal that while the level of support was woefully inadequate, Kerala is on the right track in its approach to tourism and the arts.

Since her early retirement in 1997, Professor Emeritus Diane Daugherty has lived in South India where she continues her research on Kerala performance. She holds a Ph.D. from New York University, serves as chair of the Association for Asian Performance, and is associate editor of ATJ.


From Representation to Apotheosis: ‘s Modern Myth of Okina
Eric C. Rath, p. 253

Modern discussions of ritual and the origins of the six-hundred-year-old Japanese theatre have focused on the enigmatic Okina dance–one of the “three rites,” shikisanban, enacted today by performers at the New Year’s and other ceremonial occasions. For modern actors, Okina is the heart of nô: a living prototype of the ritual theatre once supposedly embodied but somehow lost. Yet Okina’s very rituality differentiates it from nô. Hence Okina is cited both as an archetype of nö’s past and as a salient point of contrast for defining ‘s artistry today.

This article declares this relationship between Okina and to be a modern formulation resulting from three factors: a change in religiosity in the early twentieth century, the role of scholars and performers of that era in reclaiming Okina’s centrality to nô, and assumptions in the fields of anthropology and folklore studies about the origin of theatre in ritual. The modern conceptualization of Okina functions as an invented tradition engendering authority for professionals, particularly the hereditary elite, who compete to lay claim to its mystery, sanctity, and power.

Eric C. Rath received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Michigan and is currently an assistant professor of premodern Japanese history at the University of Kansas. This study of Okina is part of his wider research on the ethos and professionalization of nö from the era of Zeami to the present.

Multilingual Theatre in Contemporary Taiwan
John B. Weinstein, p. 269

Several recent theatrical works in Taiwan have used multiple languages within a single performance. Using two 1997 productions as examples, John B. Weinstein argues that this multilingual technique, which feels natural to playwrights, actors, and audiences in Taiwan, enables the playwrights to explore issues of identity more extensively. Furthermore, the audience’s experience varies in accordance with each member’s own language background.

John B. Weinstein is a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University. His article “Syncretic Theater: Teaching Tradition Through Modern Means” was published in the 1999 Taiwan xiandai juchang yantaohui lunwenji (Collected Essays of the 1999 Taiwan Modern Theater Seminar). He currently serves as artistic director of Take Out Productions.


Faye Chunfang Fei, ed. and trans., Chinese Theories of Theater and Performance from Confucius to the Present
reviewed by Grant Shen, p. 285

Kirsten Pauka, Theater and Martial Arts in West Sumatra: Randai and Silek of the Minangkabau
reviewed by Craig Latrell, p. 290

Oh T’ae-sôk, The Metacultural Theater of Oh T’ae-sôk: Five Plays from the Korean Avant-Garde, trans. by Ah-jeong Kim and R. B. Graves
reviewed by Jung Soon Shim, p. 292

John Russell Brown, New Sites for Shakespeare: Theatre, the Audience, and Asia
reviewed by David W. Jiang, p. 294

Senda Akihiko, The Voyage of Contemporary Japanese Theatre, trans. by J. Thomas Rimer
reviewed by Laurence Kominz, p. 296

Chifumi Shimazaki, trans., Troubled Souls from Japanese Noh Plays of the Fourth Group;
Mae J. Smethurst, trans., Dramatic Representations of Filial Piety: Five Noh in Translation
reviewed by Eric C. Rath, p. 300

Japan Playwrights Association, ed., Half a Century of Japanese Theatre I: The 1990’s Part I
reviewed by Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, p. 303