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  • From the Editor
  • Kathy Foley

In Asian Theatre Journal 28, Association of Asian Performance officers Siyuan Lui and David Jortner developed a series on the founding of our field of Asian theatre studies. Their section caused me to pause and to think about what changes are taking place. This more "regular" issue celebrates our thirtieth year and has an eclectic mix of recent work but also communicates what seem to be trends. Almost half the scholars are Asian by birth, though of course a number teach or study in the United States. We are more diverse than AAP may have been in the first issue that Jim Brandon and Elizabeth Wichmann edited thirty years ago.

We are rethinking history. Siyuan Liu shows how the "traditional" jingju Princess Baihua was reworked to conform to the political needs and interests of developing PRC and how those changes in the repertoire have been perpetuated since. Guanda Wu dives into the debate over the female impersonator in the early years of the era—arguments between men over the idea of women on stage. Gary Mathews asks us to consider Zeami, who we customarily see through a Buddhist lens as a proponent of Confucian principles in his dramaturgy. Revisioning helps us test our assumptions.

Another trend is that contemporary theatre by urban artists is now more routinely the object of enthusiastic research than may have been the case thirty years ago. Jungman Park elucidates the way that a Korean company, Yeonwoo Mudae, helped reorient Korean theatre of the 1980s (with help from Brechtean models). Shiao-ling Yu shares research on a masterpiece of huaju (Chinese spoken drama) and shows us that contemporary Chinese scholars are pointing out the Manchu strands within the work that could invite a new staging using ethnic concerns as a core. Cheng Fan-Ting and Jae Kyoung Kim focus on contemporary productions by top directors Stan Lai (aka Lai Sheng-Chuan) and Suzuki Tadashi, respectively. Charlene Rajendran devotes her scholarship to the important shifts in the career of Malaysian director-critic Krishan Jit, who was an inspiration to all who [End Page iii] researched contemporary modern Southeast Asian work. ATJ's second editor, Sam Leiter, pushed the journal to include more material on contemporary theatre, and his efforts may have helped in part to move us toward greater attention to spoken drama genres that may represent the trends in urban theatre today.

In a report on a York University "mega" British gamelan festival, Ginevra House points to the indigenization of gamelan and wayang on the English scene. Her report lets us know the British are currently doing all-night wayang with gamelan and bagpipe musical fusions and ATJ's Southeast Asia editor American Matthew Cohen as the dalang. I thank all these authors as well as the reviewers who graciously evaluated the books submitted. It has been a pleasure to edit you.


In Southeast Asia the protocol is to apologize before one makes mistakes, but here this apology is more belated. I wish to acknowledge the editorial error that led to mistakes in ATJ 29, no. 1 (spring 2012): 89-111, in Frank Episale's "Gender, Tradition, and Culture in Translation: Reading the Onnagata in English."

Min Tian's "Male Dan: The Paradox of Sex, Acting, and Perception of Female Impersonation in Traditional Chinese Theatre" from ATJ 17, no. 1 (spring 2000): 78-97 was misquoted and the wrong page was cited. The original read: "The tradition of female impersonation in jingju appears doomed to disappear with the death and retirement of a number of Mei's last male dan protégés . . ." (p. 93). Mei Lanfang's name was also incorrectly spelled in the same article.

Additionally, in the introduction to the issue, I spelled Frank Episale's name incorrectly. I apologize to Min Tian for the mistakes in this citation and it should in no way be ascribed to him. I apologize to Episale for my misspelling of his name. I simultaneously wish to thank Lori Paximadis and Cindy Chun at the University of Hawai'i Press, who try to eliminate errors I fail to catch or in some cases introduce into the text. And I wish to...


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