Article Title

Dances with Brecht: Huang Zuolin and His Xieyi Theater


Ronnie Bai


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

On the subject of Brecht's effect upon Chinese theater practitioners, Huang Zuolin, the late director of the Shanghai People's Arts Theater, probably commands most of our attention, not only because he was one of the most eminent and persistent Brecht pioneers, but, more importantly, because his creative response to Brechtian dramaturgy led to the establishment of a new theater style of modern Chinese spoken drama, called Xieyi theater. Though mainly a technical integration of Brecht, Stanislavsky and Mei Lanfang, Huang's Xieyi theater, nevertheless, represented a return to Chinese culture. The couple of decades immediately following the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966- 1976), when the country opened up to the outside world, saw modem Chinese theater bursting with new forms and styles with the compelling demands of a changing epoch. At the same time there was also a revival of interest in Western modernist drama. It was against this background that Huang was finally able to test the possibility of combining disparate theater traditions into a new form of drama. He did this by reviewing China's native theater tradition from a new theoretic angle and through a long process of experimentation.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.