Asian Theatre Journal 20.2 (2003) iii-iv
[Access article in PDF]
Asian Theatre Journalhappily returns to its policy of publishing translations of Asian plays with this issue's Umbuik Mudo and the Magic Flute, a randai dance-drama, introduced by Kirstin Pauka, one of its translators. Professor Pauka's 1996 ATJ essay on randai introduced the form to most Western readers (she has since published a book and a CD-ROM on it), so it is only natural that this journal should publish the first English translation of a randai play.
Two of the three essays that follow are also by previous contributors to ATJ, Catherine Diamond and Eric Rath. Catherine Diamond, who lives in Taipei, has become something of a roving reporter in the realms of South Asian theatre, and this time she surveys the wide-ranging and little-known theatrical pleasures of Cambodia. Eric Rath, who lives in Kansas, is a specialist in no history, and here he investigates issues of artistic and theoretical transmission in that classical Japanese form. The West knows much about no, much less about Cambodian theatre (Diamond's essay is only the second on the subject ever published byATJ), and barely anything about theatre in Nepal. One of the very few specialists laboring in that increasingly troubled part of the East, Carol Davis of Pomona College, brings to our pages insights into a modern Nepali play. It is the first essay on Nepali theatre to be published in ATJ.
Eric Rath first published in ATJ in 2000 when his essay was selected for the 1999 Debut Panelist competition sponsored by the Association for Asian Performance (AAP) under the auspices of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).ATJ is happy to be once again publishing such debut papers. The three represented here were originally presented at the ATHE conference in San Diego in July 2002. The AAP adjudicators for the panel were Craig Latrell, William Peterson, Margaret (Jiggs) Coldiron, and myself. Although polished for publication, the essays—followingATJ's established protocol in these matters—remain as brief as they were when given orally. [End Page iii] Each tackles some interesting theoretical topic: Sean Metzger looks at problems of interculturalism in an extravagant staging of Turandot in Beijing; Peter Thornton examines gender issues in two no plays; and Jing Shen studies an unusual chuanqi play,The Paired Fish, to investigate the relation between standardized role types and the construction of character identity.
Samuel L. Leiter