- From the Editor
This issue recuperates aspects of Asian theatre history. The introduction to Dorei by Anne Sokolsky and Tim Yamamura gives us an understanding of the work of Tamura Toshiko (1884-1945) as a transnational author in Japan and the United States in the first part of the twentieth century. While we lack a production history of this work and Tamura had given up acting by the time she wrote the script, the play and Tamura's life give insight into female self-liberation in Japan in the early twentieth century from the perspective of a New Woman herself, making Dorei a valuable document of gender issues during the Meiji transformation.
Two of the other articles deal with other transnational issues. Leo Yip's "Comedy of Exotic Conflicts: Chinese Character Plays of Kyogen" mines play texts with Chinese settings or characters, explaining the historical background that informs each play, giving us insight into Japanese views of Chinese in earlier periods. Hsieh Hsiao -Mei's discussion of Taiwanese opera (gezaixi) shows the situation of the art in both colonial Taiwan and Japanese-occupied China in the 1930s. Hsieh shows the local adaptations of the same form—artists in Taiwan tried to negotiate the imposition of Japanese language and aesthetics without losing local distinctiveness, while on the mainland performers attempted to dissociate gezaixi from Taiwan because of Chinese feelings of shame for loss of the island and Taiwan's association with the enemy as China struggled against Japanese imperialism. An article by William Peterson takes on the past and present practice of dance in the highlands of Luzon, while Sir Anril Pineda Tiatco and Amihan Bonifacio-Ramolete discuss the past and report on the present of sarsuwela in the context of the Sarsuwela Festival 2009 at the University of the Philippines. Intra-Philippines pressures and international flows from the colonial period to the present are detailed. Finally, a report by Fan Pen Li Chen and Bradford Clark gives us an update on puppetry in China based on fieldwork in 2008 and 2009, noting the impact of elevating certain artists as keepers of an important cultural tradition and clarifying [End Page iii] the ritual roots of puppetry in southern China, patterns intimating that we might rethink Chinese influences on Southeast Asia puppetry rituals, especially in Vietnam.
While this is a general issue, the themes of national pride or shame reflected in theatre recur as nations reclaim fading traditions (Chinese puppetry, Cordillera's dance), recast arts that are initially seen as foreign to make them locally meaningful (gezaixi, sarsuwela), or use theatre to interrogate foreign ideas (Chinese characters fall before the Japanese in kyogen, and the New Woman is not sure that Western models of female liberation apply fully to her in Dorei). The essays show that defining boundaries is important in the success of theatre with the audience, but that the stage is also a space for people to try out ideas that flow across borders and into local life. [End Page iv]