Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 20, no. 2 (2003)

Editor’s Note
Samuel L. Leiter, iii


Umbuik Mudo and the Magic Flute: A Randai Dance-Drama
Introduction by Kirstin Pauka; translated by Ivana Askovic, Barbara Polk, Kirstin Pauka, et al., 113

This first English-language publication of a randai play from West Sumatra is based on the script prepared for a student production staged in 2001 at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, by one of the translators, Kirstin Pauka, who also introduces the play and its staging.

Kirstin Pauka is associate professor of Asian theatre at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa, specializing in Southeast Asia. Her research focus is on the theatre of Indonesia. She is the author of Theater and Martial Arts in West Sumatra: Randai and Silek of the Minangkabau (1998) and the CD-ROM Randai: Folk Theatre, Dance, and Martial Arts of West Sumatra (2002). As well, Dr. Pauka serves as editor for Southeast Asia for the forthcoming Oxford Encyclopedia on Theatre and Performing Arts. She is also a percussionist and drummer with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble.


Emptying the Sea by the Bucketful: The Dilemma in Cambodian Theatre
Catherine Diamond, 147

From the perspective of the French colonialists and contemporary tour producers, Cambodian classical dance has been the star of Cambodia’s performing arts, overshadowing the other theatrical forms. Yike, bassac, lakhaoun niyeay, and sbek touch all have taken second place for political as well as aesthetic reasons. During the 1990s when the United Nations and other aid agencies were helping Cambodia recover from the effects of civil war and foreign occupation, the performing arts relied heavily on foreign aid to sustain them. This essay questions both the renewed focus on the classical dance and the reliance on foreign funds for performance inside the country–and asks whether such aid will in the long term benefit the performing arts and artists or create a dependence that lessens their own initiative and local audience interaction.

Catherine Diamond is a theatre professor at Soochow University and the director of Phoenix Theatre, an English-language company in Taipei. She has been a frequent contributor to ATJ.

Dreams of Peach Blossoms: Cultural Memory in a Nepali Play
Carol Davis, 179

Dreams of Peach Blossoms takes place in the mind of a poet who travels across time to understand his ancient cultural heritage before its ideas and icons are lost forever. Playwright Abhi Subedi juxtaposes indigenous elements with foreign influences and mixes historical values with contemporary exploitation as he exhorts his audience to preserve what is precious in their culture.

Carol Davis holds a doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, and teaches theatre at Pomona College. She is the founding artistic director of a street-theatre troupe in Nepal and conducted research there on a grant from the Asian Cultural Council.

Remembering Zeami: The Kanze School and Its Patriarch
Eric Rath, 191

This article examines the history of the reception and popularization of the achievements of no‘s founder, Zeami Motokiyo, as represented by three important actors of the Kanze school: Kanze Motoakira (d. 1774), Kanze Sakon (d. 1939), and Kanze Hisao (d. 1978). Eric Rath describes how memories of Zeami helped these three actors to shape the Kanze school’s performance practices and institutions. He reveals, too, how debate over no‘s direction and essence has come to be framed in respect to the person considered to be its patriarch.

Eric C. Rath is assistant professor of premodern Japanese history at the University of Kansas. He is the author of several articles on the history of no and the forthcoming book The Ethos of Noh: Actors and Their Art (Harvard University Asia Center Press).


Ice Queens, Rice Queens, and Intercultural Investments in Zhang Yimou’s Turandot
Sean Metzger, 209

Stage director Zhang Yimou’s production of Turandot in the Forbidden City in Beijing was a spectacle of excess. Sean Metzger analyzes the staging of this theatrical event and the investments that fueled its production.

Sean Metzger is a Ph.D. candidate in theatre at the University of California, Davis, and adjunct faculty at three universities in Los Angeles. He has published several articles and reviews on the intersections of gender, sexuality, and Asian and Asian American representation in theatre and film. He is currently completing his dissertation.

Monomane, Yugen, and Gender in Izutsu and Sotoba Komachi
Peter Thornton, 218

This essay cites instances of transgender performance in two no plays and analyzes how they deal with issues of gender. Drawing on Judith Butler’s gender theory, it attempts to understand the status of gender in these plays within Zeami’s aesthetic hierarchy.

Peter Thornton received a B.A. and an M.A. in East Asian languages and cultures. He is currently working on his Ph.D. at the London Consortium studying humanities and cultural studies.

Role Types in The Paired Fish, a Chuanqi Play
Jing Shen, 226

Chuanqi drama is a sophisticated literary and theatrical form of late imperial China. Jing Shen shows us an interesting example of chuanqi metatheatre. Her essay investigates the relationship of mimesis and theatricality in the chuanqi play Bimuyu (The Paired Fish) by analyzing the tension between the role types and the actor-characters–an approach that gives us insights into socially constructed categories of identity.

Jing Shen is assistant professor of Chinese language and literature at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL.She is considering doing a full or partial translation of The Paired Fish as a future project with her mentor Robert Hegel.


Steven T. Brown, Theatricalities of Power: The Cultural Politics of Noh
reviewed by Stanca Scholz-Cionca, 237

James R. Brandon and Samuel L. Leiter, eds., Kabuki Plays on Stage, vols. 1–2
reviewed by C. Andrew Gerstle, 241

Ayako Kano, Acting Like a Woman in Modern Japan: Theatre, Gender, and Nationalism
reviewed by Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei, 244

Harry H. Kuoshu, Lightness of Being in China: Adaptation and Discursive Figuration in Cinema and Theater
reviewed by Robert Chi, 24

Meng Chengshun, Mistress & Maid (Jiaohongji)
reviewed by Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, 250

Nicola Savarese, Paris/Artaud/Bali: Antonin Artaud Vede il Teatro Balinese all’Esposizione Coloniale di Parigi del 1931
reviewed by Sergio Costola, 25


Ta’ziyeh, produced by Lincoln Center Festival 2002
reviewed by Rebecca Ansary Pettys, 256