Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 27, no. 2 (2010)

Siping marionettes
Siping marionettes from Fujian
From the Editor, iii


Dorei (Slave): A Play by Tamura Toshiko.
Introduction and translation by Anne Sokolsky and Tim Yamamura, 203


Performing Indigeneity in the Cordillera: Dance, Community, and Power in the Highlands of Luzon
William Peterson, 246

The signature dances of the mountain-dwelling indigenous people of the Cordillera region in the Philippines circulate nationally and internationally as emblematic of Filipino culture, even as the diverse cultures of origin have been increasingly subjected to economic, political, and cultural domination by Tagalog-speaking lowlanders. Through an examination of how dance is situated on its home ground in and around the region’s largest city, Baguio, this article demonstrates how indigenous dance based on traditional forms serves a range of masters and a variety of functions, while ultimately providing a space for indigenous people to reclaim, rediscover, and celebrate their culture.

William Peterson is a senior lecturer and director of the Centre for Theatre and Performance at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Contemporary Singapore (Wesleyan University Press, 2001) and has published widely on theatre, politics, and religion in Singapore, the Philippines, and Aotearoa/New Zealand. He extends special thanks to the University of the Philippines (Diliman) and Aquinas University of Legaspi for their support with this research.

Music from a Dying Nation: Taiwanese Opera in China and Taiwan during World War II
Hsieh Hsiao-Mei, 269

Unlike other traditional performances that were brought to the island by its Chinese immigrants, gezaixi, also known as Taiwanese opera, is purely and proudly “made in Taiwan.” With its popularity, gezaixi made its way across the Taiwan Strait to southeastern China in the 1920s and gradually drew local audiences. Yet, in history, gezaixi was banned on the mainland during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945). Because the Taiwanese had been under Japanese colonial rule since 1895, music from Taiwan was thus stigmatized and known as wangguodiao (literally, “music from a dying nation”) in China during the height of the Sino-Japanese War. Similarly, gezaixi in Taiwan at the same time was strictly regulated by the Japanese government and was forced to “reform” to rid itself of its Chinese legacy. Thus gezaixi, a uniquely Taiwanese genre, on both sides of the Taiwan Strait encountered difficulties due to the hyphenated condition of the Taiwanese—living as Taiwanese-Chinese or Taiwanese-Japanese. By exploring the ambivalent Taiwanese identity during this time when the tension between China and Japan was at its peak, this paper attempts to examine how the local Chinese gezaixi practitioners sought to rework and indigenize this genre to preserve their livelihood, how this cultural expression in Taiwan adapted to the colonial assimilation policy, and how the “in-betweenness” of the Taiwanese was negotiated through the performance of gezaixi.

Hsieh Hsiao-Mei is an assistant professor in the Department of Drama and Theatre of the National Taiwan University. She received her PhD in performance studies at Northwestern University in the United States. Her research interests include cross-cultural adaptation, theatre historiography, and Chinese theatre and its transformation in the face of multicultural influences.

Comedy of Exotic Conflicts: Chinese Character Plays of Kyōgen
Leo Shingchi Yip, 286

Tōzumō (Chinese Sumo Wrestling), Tōjin kodakara (The Chinese Man’s Precious Sons), and Chasanbai (An International Marriage Problem) are the only three surviving plays labeled as “Chinese character plays” in today’s kyōgen repertoire. The plays are of significant value for their rare comedic dramatizations of Japan’s complex relations with China and integrations of exotic elements that are suggestive of China. This essay examines how the three plays illustrate the intricate and conflicting feelings that medieval Japanese upheld toward the Chinese. The essay also delineates how the plays reinvent various elements, indicative of both Chinese influences and kyōgen’s conventions, to imbue a sense of exoticism.

Leo Shingchi Yip is an assistant professor of Japanese studies at Gettysburg College whose work on traditional Japanese theatre has been published in Asian Theatre Journal and other journals.


Performing the Nation Onstage: An Afterthought on the University of the Philippines Sarsuwela Festival 2009
Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco and Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete, 307

This report is a descriptive narrative of the events during the University of the Philippines (UP) Sarsuwela Festival 2009. The centerpiece of the festival was the series of sarsuwela performances staged in February. The sarsuwela, a Philippine traditional theatre form, served as a venue to express confined and unexpressed emotions against the colonial masters and has been and still is appreciated by Filipinos from all walks of life. Toward the end of this paper, a discussion on how sarsuwela may be used as a tool in discovering the (Philippine) nation and (Philippine) identity vis-à-vis the context of institutionalizing national theatre as compared to the sectarian komedya, which was earlier proposed by partisan scholars to be a Philippine national theatre form.

Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco is an assistant professor of theatre arts in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He was the project leader of the UP Sarsuwela Festival 2009. He is currently pursuing PhD in theatre studies at the National University of Singapore. His essays have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal, Philippine Humanities Review, and TDR: The Drama Review.

Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete is an associate professor of theatre arts in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of the Philippines. She is the artistic director of Teatrong Mulat ng Pilipinas, a nonprofit theatre organization specializing in children’s theatre and puppetry. Her essays on Philippine theatre, puppetry, and children’s theatre have appeared in Asian Theatre Journal and Philippine Humanities Review.

A Survey of Puppetry in China (Summers 2008 and 2009)
Fan Pen Li Chen and Bradford Clark, 333

Over a total of thirteen weeks, the authors accompanied Professor Ye Mingsheng of Fuzhou, Fujian Province, and his graduate student Huang Jianxing on a survey of Chinese string, rod, and glove puppetry. Covering thirteen provinces and municipalities, they documented rehearsals and performances by both large, state-supported contemporary puppetry troupes and small, rural, traditional companies engaged in ritual performances.

Fan Pen Chen is an assistant professor at State University of New York at Albany. She began research on the Chinese shadow theatre in 1995 and has published two books and numerous articles on the topic.

Bradford Clark is a professor and designer/director at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, teaching courses in puppetry and stage design. He serves as curator of collections at the Center for Puppetry Arts Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.


Phra Lor, by Patravadi Medjudhon, directed by Patravadi Medjudhon and Manop Meejamrat
reviewed by Catherine Diamond, 366


Qingyun Wu, A Dream of Glory (Fanhua Meng): A Chuanqi Play by Wang Yun
reviewed by Siyuan Liu, 370

Arya Madhavan. Kudiyattam: Theatre and the Actor’s Consciousness
reviewed by Boris Daussà-Pastor, 373

Deena Burton, Sitting at the Feet of Gurus: The Life and Dance Ethnography of Claire Holt
reviewed by Laurie Margot Ross, 377

Stephen E. Marvin. Heaven Has a Face, So Does Hell: The Art of the Noh Mask
reviewed by Eric Rath, 381

Samuel L. Leiter, editor, Rising from the Flames: The Rebirth of Theater in Occupied Japan, 1945–1952
reviewed by John D. Swain, 383

Richard Nichols, editor, Modern Korean Drama: An Anthology
reviewed by Kathy Foley, 386

Lee Hyon-u, editor, Glocalizing Shakespeare in Korea and Beyond
reviewed by Kathy Foley, 390


Felicia Katz-Harris, curator, Dancing Shadows, Epic Tales: Wayang Kulit of Indonesia
reviewed by Kathy Foley, 394


Leonard Retel Helmrich, director, Promised Paradise
reviewed by Matthew Cohen, 400

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