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Ascendant Peace in the Four Seas

Drama and the Qing Imperial Court

By Ye Xiaoqing

"On an autumn morning in 1793, Lord Macartney waited to be ushered into the imperial summer retreat to take part in the celebration of the Qianlong Emperor's 82nd birthday. It was a long day; the celebration drama, Ascendant Peace in the Four Seas, lasted five hours. There were many scenes of fish, turtles and other sea creatures, and Macartney guessed it must have had something to do with the marriage between the ocean and land. He could not have been more wrong…" For the Qing court, entertaining foreign visitors was only one of the numerous ritual and political purposes dramas served. Delving into a rich collection of first-hand materials, the author meticulously excavates and combs historical data including court records, eunuchs' memoirs, pictorial archives of opera costumes, and period news. She investigates the development of imperial drama and its influence on the Peking Opera, as well as the function and system of imperial organizations responsible for drama. Also discussed are the complex roles of the actors on and off stage, and the broader issues of cultural and political influence intertwined with the performances themselves. The book thus presents us not only an art history of Peking Opera, but also a vivid scroll-painting of the social-cultural life both in and beyond the Forbidden City.

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Asian American Plays for a New Generation

Plays for a New Generation

Edited by Josephine Lee, Don Eitel and R. A. Shiomi

Asian American plays provide an opportunity to think about how racial issues are engaged through theatrical performance physical contact, bodily labor, and fleshly desire as well as through the more standard elements of plot, setting, characterization, staging, music, and action.

Asian American Plays for a New Generation showcases seven exciting new plays that dramatize timely themes that are familiar to Asian Americans. The works variously address immigration, racism, stereotyping, identity, generational tensions, assimilation, and upward mobility as well as post-9/11 paranoia, racial isolation, and adoptee experiences.

Each of these works engages directly and actively with Asian American themes through performance to provide an important starting point for building relationships, raising political awareness, and creating active communities that can foster a sense of connection or even rally individuals to collective action.

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Asinaria

The One about the Asses

Plautus; Translated and with commentary by John Henderson

Asses, asses, and more asses! This new edition of Plautus' rumbustious comedy provides the complete original Latin text, witty scholarly commentary, and an English translation that both complements and explicates Plautus' original style. John Henderson reveals this play as a key to Roman social relations centered on many kinds of slavery: to sex, money, and family structure; to masculinity and social standing; to senility and partying; and to jokes, lies, and idiocy. The translation remains faithful to Plautus' syllabic style for reading aloud, as well as to his humorous colloquialisms and wordplay, providing readers with a comfortable affinity to Plautus himself. An indispensable teaching and learning tool for the study of Roman New Comedy, this edition includes comprehensive commentary, useful indexes, and a pronunciation guide that will help readers of all levels understand and appreciate Plautus and his era.

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The Avant-Garde and the Popular in China

Tian Han and the Intersection of Performance and Politics

Liang Luo

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The Barn

As a veteran playwright and actor, Kwo Victor Elame Musinga is more than just a pioneer in popular theatre. His simple but profound messages demonstrate a depth of understanding and insight into human nature and the nature of society. The texts he crafts are universal and timeless in their content and appeal, even as the themes and situations that inspire them are localized in specific places, experiences and histories. The Barn is a collection of three topical plays. Njema captures the predicament of love in a context where innocence and trust are preyed upon by deceit, dishonesty, promiscuity, waywardness, callous indifference to human life, the reckless abandon of parental authority and wisdom by youth in a hurry to celebrate sexuality, irresponsible manhood with or without the connivance of girls/women, and HIV/AIDS and its terror. Invitation to God addresses elitism and fair-weather friendship even among believers. In Moka, the theme of friendship is explored through the simple act of dishonesty and greed, especially to those with whom one should be nothing but virtuous, open, generous and kind. In these plays Kwo Victor Elame Musinga explores the virtues of being human, while addressing the dark side of humanity.

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Barrio Dreams

Selected Plays

Silviana Wood, Edited by Norma E. Cantú and Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz

During the advent of Chicano teatro, dozens of groups sprang up across the country in Chicano/a communities. Since then, teatristas have been leading voices in the creation and production of plays touching minds and hearts that galvanize audiences to action.

Barrio Dreams is the first book to collect the work of one of Arizona’s foremost teatristas, playwright Silviana Wood. During her decades-long involvement in theater, Wood forged a reputation as a playwright, actor, director, and activist. Her works form a testimonio of Chicana life, steeped in art, politics, and the borderlands. Wood’s plays challenge, question, and incite women to consider their lot in life. She ruptures stereotypes and raises awareness of social issues via humor and with an emphasis on the use of the physical body on stage.

The play Una vez, en un barrio de sueños . . . offers a glimpse into familiar terrain—the barrio and its dwellers—in three actos. In Amor de hija, a fraught mother-daughter relationship in contemporary working-class Arizona is dealt an additional blow as the family faces Alzheimer’s disease. In the tragedy A Drunkard’s Tale of Melted Wings and Memories, and in the trilingual (Spanish, English, and Yaqui) tragicomedy Yo, Casimiro Flores, characters love, live, die, travel through time and space, and visit the afterlife. And in Anhelos por Oaxaca, a grandfather travels back in time through flashbacks, as he and his grandson travel through homelands from Arizona to Oaxaca.

Part of Wood’s genius is the way she portrays life in what Gloria Anzaldúa called “el mundo zurdo,” that space inhabited by the people of color, the poor, the female, and the outsiders. It is a place for the atravesados, the odd, the different, those who do not fit the mainstream. The people who inhabit Wood’s plays are common folk—janitors, mothers, grandmothers, and teenagers—hardworking people who, in one way or another, have made their way in life and who embody life in the barrio.
 

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Ben Jonson and the Roman Frame of Mind

Katharine Eisaman Maus

Katharine Maus explores the biographical reasons for Jonson's preference for particular Latin authors; the effects of Roman moral and psychological paradigms on his methods of characterization and generic choices; the connection between his critical theory and artistic practice; and the impact of Roman social theory on his portrayal of communities and on his peculiar relationship with his audiences.

Originally published in 1985.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Bertolt Brecht in America

James K. Lyon

This colorful account of Bertolt Brecht's move from Germany to America during the Hitler era explores his activities as a Hollywood writer, a playwright determined to conquer Broadway, a political commentator and activist, a social observer, and an exile in an alien land.

Originally published in 1983.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

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Between Theater and Anthropology

By Richard Schechner. Foreword by Victor Turner

In performances by Euro-Americans, Afro-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians, Richard Schechner has examined carefully the details of performative behavior and has developed models of the performance process useful not only to persons in the arts but to anthropologists, play theorists, and others fascinated (but perhaps terrified) by the multichannel realities of the postmodern world.

Schechner argues that in failing to see the structure of the whole theatrical process, anthropologists in particular have neglected close analogies between performance behavior and ritual. The way performances are created—in training, workshops, and rehearsals—is the key paradigm for social process.

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Black Caps and Red Feathers

In Black Caps and Red Feathers the reader is taken into Creatureís subconscious on the garbage heap where he is tenant, and where he recounts his multitudinous and gruesome experiences in Traourouís underground prisons. Ancestral Earth, set within a traditional African background, indicts Akeumbin, the king and custodian of the earth of Allehtendurih, who is caught in the dilemma of stopping a plague caused by the reckless exploitation of the earth and showing affection for his fiftieth bride. In compliance with the Princes of Earth, the women who are the principal victims, bring pressure to bear on the King who condescends to the urgency of appeasing the Ancestral Earth. The common denominator in both plays is communal grudge against irresponsible leadership and its fallouts of indiscriminate victimization that allow for the anticipation of a new or renewed consciousness.

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