Elite Theatre in Ming China, 1368-1644 (Routledgecurzon by Grant Guangren

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By Grant Guangren

Theatre occupied a very vital position within the lifetime of the elite, for whom possessing a theatre troupe was once hugely trendy and for whom theatre performances have been an essential component of formal gatherings, numerous rituals and ceremonies. in line with an exploration of unique old documents, together with comparisons with different kinds of historic theatre, Shen presents an summary of elite theatre in Ming China and examines the main points of theatrical functionality.

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203–41). Difficulties To date, research on Ming theatre has extended from dramatic literature to include the performing arts. These studies, whether on literary scripts or performative elements, have encountered often different and, in a few cases, greater difficulties than the studies on the earlier or later periods. Such a situation is largely due to the elitist nature of Ming drama and its sophisticated styles of performance. The reading of chuanqi librettos Even those with experience of working on the musical theatres of the Yuan or the Qing may encounter difficulties in evaluating a Ming text.

20th, . . watched actors presenting several scenes from Filial Piety and Fraternal Duty (Xiaoti ji). (Qi B 1937: 25–6, ‘Zijian lu’) ETIC03C 26 14/12/04, 2:30 PM Literati owners 27 Sustaining a private troupe, frequenting shows in town and publishing a well regarded book on theatre criticism, for Qi Biaojia theatre was much of his daily activity. He discontinued his theatre life only when he brought an end to his physical life. This Ming loyalist committed suicide at the fall of the dynasty.

Yang was a scholar who lived in seclusion, and for many years enjoyed fame by keeping himself aloof from politics and material pursuits. His plays were much appreciated by Emperor Wuzong (reigned 1506–21), who appointed him to a position in the Academy of Music, the agency in charge of court troupes. Of this Yang was very much ashamed. He begged the emperor to release him from the position, but without success. He was not able to escape from the post until his friend Zang Xian , a head eunuch who had the emperor’s favour, interceded on his behalf.

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