Asian Theatre Journal, vol. 30, no. 2 (2013)

ATJ 30.2 dancer image
Opening dance of The Little Clay Cart by Epic Actors Workshop of New Jersey, 2010

From the Editor, iii

Color Insert follows page 361


A Kabuki Innovator, Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII, Dies Too Young: Where Does Kabuki Go from Here?
Laurence Kominz, 267

Kabuki actor, producer, and director Nakamura Kanzaburō XVIII passed away on 5 December 2012, at age fifty-seven, of acute respiratory failure following a half-year battle with throat cancer. Kanzaburō was not just another kabuki star, he was the soul of the art for a huge number of fans, and the hope for kabuki moving in new directions in the future. The “XVIII” indicates that he was the eighteenth-generation actor to bear this name, and his branch of the Nakamura family has owned theaters, managed companies, and directed plays since the early seventeenth century, as well as occasionally providing star actors for the stage.

Laurence Kominz is the Japan editor for Asian Theatre Journal. He teaches at Portland State University and is associated with Waseda University Theatre Museum.


Founders of the Field II: Introduction
Siyuan Liu and David Jortner, editors, 271

Richard Schechner
Cobina Gillitt, 276

As one of the founders of the discipline of performance studies, Richard Schechner has been instrumental in the development of new paradigms for experiencing and theorizing theatre in Asia. The impact of his scholarship, teaching, mentorship, theatrical practice, and editorship of TDR: The Drama Review is significant worldwide. Many of his major theoretical constructs have grown out of his encounters in and with Asia, particularly India and China.

Farley Richmond
Arnab Banerji, 295

Farley Richmond is the pioneering figure in Indian theatre scholarship in the United States. He has taught and headed departments at University of Michigan and SUNY Stony Brook and is presently teaching at the University of Georgia. He is trained in Kutiyattam, one of India’s oldest classical theatre forms, and is a key figure in bringing it to world attention.

Daniel S. P. Yang
Siyuan Liu, 309

Daniel S. P. Yang trained in amateur jingju (Beijing opera) in Taiwan in the 1950s and studied in the Asian theatre graduate programs at the University of Hawai‘i and the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the 1960s. His early career was marked by jingju productions and scholarly insight on post-1949 Chinese theatre, particularly revolutionary model plays. During his tenure at the University of Colorado–Boulder and as producing artistic director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, he thrived as a successful director and producer of Shakespeare and modern Western classics. Since the early 1980s, he has successfully brought Western classics and contemporary hits to the thriving urban theatre scene in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. As such, his long career represents the contribution of U.S.-educated artist-scholars from Asia to both Asian theatre studies in the West and the theatrical development of their native land.

I Made Bandem
Jennifer Goodlander, 323

I Made Bandem is a dynamic scholar, performer, and teacher of Balinese performing arts who has had enormous impact on the field of Asian theatre. This article examines Bandem’s work as an outspoken advocate for Balinese arts and culture on local, national, and international levels.

David Goodman
David Jortner, 336

David Goodman was one of the most influential scholars of modern and contemporary Japanese theatre. Beginning with his groundbreaking work on the journal Concerned Theatre Japan and continuing through his subsequent publications on angura, shingeki, and the avant-garde theatres of Japan, Goodman helped to create the idea of modern and contemporary Japanese theatre scholarship. A professor for many years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Goodman’s work as an educator, scholar, and activist made a tremendous impression on those fortunate enough to know him. His many translations, books, and articles on the modern and contemporary Japanese theatre stand as a testament to the high quality of his scholarship and demonstrate his influence in the field of Japanese theatre studies.

Benito Ortolani
Jonah Salz, 349

Benito Ortolani was instrumental in introducing Japanese traditional and modern theatre to the West through scholarly publications, exhibits, and tours. Focusing on the spiritual dynamics in pre- forms and their resiliency in present practices, Ortolani wrote an essential textbook that continues to be the best single source for the entire span of Japanese theatre.

Some Personal Recollections of Benito Ortolani
Samuel L. Leiter, 358


The “Broken” and the “Breakthroughs”: Acting in Jingju Model Plays of China’s Cultural Revolution
Xing Fan, 360

During the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government designated seventeen theatre productions and music pieces as models for artistic and literary creations. Nine of these seventeen model works are jingju plays. With the primary task of creating heroic proletarian models, the nine jingju model plays are all set during the 1920s to the 1960s. From the 1950s through the 1970s, creators of jingju model plays found a primary challenge was how to portray modern characters with practices and techniques from traditional jingju; in response, they carried out comprehensive experiments in music, acting, directing, design, and playwriting. This paper offers an analysis of acting in jingju model plays at the intersection of tradition and innovation. Through examining the fusion of selectively adapted traditional practices and newly invented performance, the author argues that artistic choices and aesthetic qualities in jingju model plays deserve close attention. While constructing a new, national socialist culture in the PRC, the bittersweet feelings toward China’s feudal culture emerged via these complex manifestations of traditional practices in creating jingju model plays.

Enchanting the Audience: Dramatic Devices of Sakura Mask Theatre in West Lampung, Sumatra
Karen Kartomi Thomas, 390

Sakura is a little-known ancient genre of masked theatre found in the Indonesian province of Lampung in southern Sumatra. In his 2010 performance of sakura, artist I Nyoman Mulyawan showcased his series of “new dance creations” in the style of the coastal Saibatin people. The multiplicity of performance devices and traditional motifs generated an allure that instantly captivated his large village audiences. The stage dynamics, masks, procession as allegory for spiritual journey, auspicious betel nut poles, and rhythmic and ritualistically charged music of the orchestra, were artfully integrated to enchant Mulyawan’s audience.

The Silenced Body of The Silent Soprano: The Overseas Filipino Worker as Silent and Erased in a Global City
Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco, 415

This essay interrogates the traditionally gendered Filipino female domestic helper vis-à-vis her “constructed” role in transnational relations and the idea of globalization represented in the 2007–2008 musical The Silent Soprano. Through this musical, the essay explores how globalization and transnational relations are experienced and mediated on the stage of the developing city of Manila, which claims to be a cosmopolitan one. It is posited that the representations of transnational relations and globalization are predicated within methodological nationalism, inscribing a fear of participation in a globalized and cosmopolitan living.

Hakka Female Identity in Postcolonial Taiwan: The Shigang Mama Theatre Group and Images of Hakka Women
Tzu-Yun Hu, 445

In this paper, I attempt to apply the perspective of postcolonial feminist criticism to explore the postcolonial circumstances of Hakka women in Taiwan through a discussion of their representation in two plays: River in the Heart and Pear Flowers, both produced by the Shigang Mama Theatre Group. In adopting a postcolonial feminist critical framework, this article seeks to avoid consigning the Hakka cultural and gender issues of these Shigang women and their earthquake disaster experiences into the generic category of women “in the Third World.” Instead, it will reflect on the complexity and difficulty of cultural identity and explore the specific life experiences of Shigang women and their conversion of Hakka women’s oppressions into social practices as another contribution to postcolonial feminist theatre.

Late Muromachi and Furyū Nō: Two Plays by Kanze Nagatoshi
Quillon Arkenstone, 466

This paper looks at the late Muromachi playwright Kanze Nagatoshi, examining two of his plays, Rinzō (The Revolving Sutra Case) and Ōyashiro (The Great Shrine), structurally against the Sandō (The Three Paths), the great treatise on play composition written by Zeami Motokiyo, Nagatoshi’s great-uncle. In doing so it discusses both the original aspects of Nagatoshi’s style as well as its continued indebtedness to past playwrights and the classical tradition, exploring how the style had much to do with the changed demographic of the period and highlighting several factors that facilitated Nagatoshi’s move away from dependence on roles traditionally considered primary toward an embrace of roles usually consigned to secondary status.


An Interview with Mangai
Anita Singh, 486

Mangai is the pen name of V. Padma who teaches English at Stella Maris College, Chennai, India. She is an academician, theatre personality, and activist and has been dynamically engaged in Tamil theatre as an actor, director, and playwright for more than two decades. Her fields of interest are theatre, gender, and translation studies. She has twice been a recipient of Fulbright Fellowships to work on theatre and gender. She taught the course Drama from “Other” Worlds (King Alfred’s College, Winchester, UK, 1999 and 2000). During a 2009 Rockefeller-Bellagio Residency, she worked on her monograph on gender and theatre in India.


Anthologizing Indonesian Popular Theatre
Matthew Isaac Cohen, 506

This report discusses the issues and realities of compiling and editing materials for an anthology of Indonesian-language theatre that dealt with popular urban theatre that has been little studied and/or translated.

Tibet Performance, Past and Present: Multidisciplinary Avenues of Research
Kathy Foley, 520

The workshop Tibet Performance, Past and Present: Multidisciplinary Avenues of Research on 12 November 2012, at Columbia University, New York, brought together Scholars of Tibetan Performance from across the globe to discuss its past and present.


The Next. Hands Percussion. Artistic director Bernard Goh. Music director Susan Sarah John
reviewed by Leng Poh Ghee, 526

Lear Dreaming. Conception and direction by Ong Keng Sen. Text by Kishida Rio
reviewed by Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco, 532

Magic Mirror: The Musical. Music, lyrics, and musical direction by Chow Kam Leong. Produced by Guan Yin Foundation/Datin Tan Swee Lai. Directed by Yu Xiao-Xue
reviewed by Loo Fung Ying, 538


Hélène Bouvier and Gérard Toffin, eds., Théâtre d’Asie à l’oeuvre. Circulation, expression, politique
reviewed by Kathy Foley, 545

Iwaki Kyoko, Tokyo Theatre Today: Conversations with Eight Emerging Theatre Artists
reviewed by David Jortner, 547

Stanca Scholz-Cionca and Andreas Regelsberger, eds., Japanese Theatre Transcultural: German and Italian Interweavings
reviewed by Margaret Coldiron, 549

Esther Kim Lee, ed. Seven Contemporary Plays for the Korean Diaspora in the Americas
reviewed by Kathy Foley 553