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Chinese Theatre and the Actor in Performance (Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre) Hardcover – June 13, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521570909 ISBN-10: 0521570905

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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre
  • Hardcover: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (June 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521570905
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521570909
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,072,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Riley presents an insider's view of jinju, enabling the reader tp see it as Chinese spectators do. Graduate and research collections." Choice

Book Description

This work gives an 'inside' view of Chinese theatre and the actor in performance for the first time. It challenges western theatre artists such as Brecht, Grotowski, Barba and Schechner, who have extracted from Chinese theatre elements which might enrich their own theatres. It is based on personal observations of and dialogue with Chinese actors, experiences which were impossible before 1980. Riley's study is well illustrated with photographs and diagrams and is accessible to anyone interested in theatre, even those with no knowledge of Chinese or Chinese theatre.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Often, Western books on Chinese theatre tell us what traditional theatre looks and sounds like, attempting to offer a source of reference to the uninitiated. Alternatively, they offer us a purely historical account of the development of traditional Chinese theatre. This descriptive trend in Western academia has continued throughout the twentieth century. Finally, Riley has written a book which breaks the mould, theorising not only on the development of traditional theatre, but also on the ritual symbols and meanings which have not only affected its development, but have continued to pervade it to this day. Riley uses a combination of her unique experiences of living, training and acting in China, alongside meticulous academic research to explore the relationship between traditional theatre and its wider cultural contexts. Consequently, this book is the first large study in a Western language to explore traditional theatre beyond its surface representation. Whilst some of the claims Riley makes about her relationship with China and its theatre are untrue (for instance, her claim to be able to view Chinese theatre from a wholly insider's view is impossible to prove given her Western background), her thesis that Chinese theatre is a multi-faceted art form, steeped in ritual exorcism and spirit worship is beyond doubt. If you are looking for a very basic and descriptive guide to traditional Chinese theatre, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you are looking for a well-researched and imaginative study of Chinese theatre, which gets past the usual description and theorises on the concepts at the very core of traditional theatre, then this is a book for you.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Chinese theatre (i.e., Chinese Opera or xiqu) is one of the most colourful, exciting and enduring of the world's theatre forms. There is much to be said about it's vibrant performance style and fascinatng history. Unfortunately, Riley's book adds little to the rather generic treatment of xiqu actors, performance form, or history currently available in English. While the author's touristy, shallow account of the world of Chinese theatre fails scholastically, the illustrations are nice to thumb through.
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Chinese Theatre and the Actor in Performance (Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre)
This item: Chinese Theatre and the Actor in Performance (Cambridge Studies in Modern Theatre)
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