April 1-4, 2004 Shakespeare in Asia Event Schedule




"Foreign Asia / Foreign Shakespeare: Reflections on inter-Asian Interculturality, Postcoloniality, and neo-Orlentalism"

5:15 pm in Drama Department Memorial Hall Room 125

Works by this internationally renowned Calcutta-based writer, director, and dramaturg include Theatre and the World (Routledge), The Politics of Cultural Practice: Thinking Through Theatre in an Age of Globalization (Oxford) and the forthcoming Rajasthan: An Oral History

THURSDAY April 1 (Kresge Auditorium)

OPENING NIGHT (8pm): renowned Singapore director ONG KENG SEN

"Negotiating the Cultural Divide:
Traditional Performance and Contemporary Practice"


FRIDAY (Arrillaga Alumni Center: McCaw Hall)

9:00-9:30 Coffee and Gathering

David Jiang (Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts):
"Shakespeare and Chinese Theater: Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth"

Using production video clips, theater practitioner and director David Jiang will show how traditional Chinese theatrical concepts and techniques (including cross-gendered roles, percussion, boat-rowing and two-fold grouping on an open stage) helped a group of British actors interpret the Scottish play under his direction. Crossing between comedy and tragedy, as well as between East and West, he will illustrate-in the reverse direction-how in another of his productions, Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing was adapted into huangmeixi, a Chinese opera form.

Ryuta Minami (Aichi University of Education, Japan)
"Shakespeare a la Kyogen or Kyogen a la Shakespeare?"

What happens when a Shakespearean comedy meets traditional Japanese theater? The Kyogen of Errors--a kyogen adaptation of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors--provides a fascinating instance. First staged in Tokyo in 2001 and then at The New Globe Theatre in London, with Mansai Nomura as director and principal performer, this play (written by Yasunari Takahashi) radically adapts Shakespeare's comedy to the conventions of traditional Japanese theater. Yet, in equally fascinating ways, it simultaneously alters the tradition itself. This presentation will illustrate visually-through video clips from the play-its significant alterations of kyogen, including its striking changes in vocal expressions and symbolic use of theatrical space and masks.

12:00-2:00 Lunch Break

Ruru Li (University of Leeds) and John Gillies (University of Essex)
"Performing Shakespeare in China, 1980-90: A Multimedia History"

This session will demonstrate a multimedia exposition and comparison of five ground-breaking Shakespeare productions which span the crucial decade from the immediate aftermath of the cultural revolution (during which Shakespeare had been proscribed) to the neo-capitalist social and political order of today (the proverbial 'socialism with Chinese characteristics'). Two of these productions represent arguably the most influential examples of huaju Shakespeare (literally 'spoken drama' or naturalist Shakespeare). Three represent the most important productions of Shakespeare in xiqu or Chinese traditional theatre (or 'Chinese opera'). Taken together, the two huaju productions -- Xu Xiaozhong's Macbeth (Beijing, 1980) and Lin Zhaohua's Hamlet (Beijing, 1990) - can be seen as spanning the decade: from the programmatic Stanislavskianism of the former (frozen into place by the hiatus of the cultural revolution), to the fluid naturalism of the latter (reflecting upon Tienanmen). The three 'opera' productions: -- a kunju Macbeth (dir. Huang Zuolin, Shanghai, 1986), a yueju Twelfth Night (dir. Hu Weimin, Shanghai, 1986) and a huangmeixi Much Ado About Nothing (dir. Jiang Weiguo, Anhui, 1986) represent three different strategies for 'doing' Shakespeare in 'traditional theatre' mode: adapting the traditional genre to Shakespeare, adapting Shakespeare to the traditional genre, and a compromise between the two. In demonstrating the package, we will aim to elucidate the ways in which the multimedia design points the user toward the deeper cultural dialogue between (and underlying) these formative productions.


3:15-4:15: Shen Lin (Beijing Central Academy of Drama):
"Lin Zhaohua's Richard III and Hamlet"


4:30-5:30: Jyotsna Singh (Michigan State University),
"Traveling Shakespeares: From 19th-century Calcutta Theatres to Post-Colonial Indian Adaptations"

This presentation will begin by following the tour of the professional Shakespearana theatre company to India between 1953 and 1956 (extending to its recreation as the famous Merchant Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah in 1963). The tour of this professional company, which survived solely by acting Shakespeare in English, marked the lingering presence as well as the impending decline of colonial rule in India. Charting the longer history of Shakespeare's "travels" into native settings and idioms, it will proceed to explore 19th-century Bengali versions and more contemporary productions such as: Amal Allana's adaptation of King Lear in 1989 (entitled Maharaja Yashwant Rao), E. Alkazi's Othello in Urdu (1969) and Habib Tanvir's multi-lingual version of A Midsummer Night's Dream (Kamdeo ka Apna, Vasant Ritu ka Sapna or The Love God's Own Spring-time Dream).



7:30 Kresge Auditorium

"Searching for Shakespeare in Ong Keng Sen's Trilogy"


SATURDAY (Kresge Auditorium)

9:00-9:30 Coffee and Gathering

9:30-10:30: Anthony R. Guneratne (Florida Atlantic University),
"Rushdie's Othellos and Cinematic Shakespeare: From the Subcontinental to the Transcontinental"

Salmon Rushdie adapts Othello in The Satanic Verses and in The Moor's Last Sigh (with echoes in other works as well). Featured in the Merchant Ivory film Shakespeare Wallah, Shakespeare's play was already well known on the Indian subcontinent. This presentation will include a series of adaptations of Othello, illustrated by video and DVD selections from four very different films, including Shakespeare Wallah. In the process, it will explore the ways in which Rushdie (and these diverse films) reconfigure discourses of gender, ethnicity and culture, by using Shakespeare as counter-text.

Yong Li Lan (National University of Singapore),
"Performing Shakespeare Interculturally: Tragedy and Spectacle"

Using clips from Ong's Search: Hamlet, the kunqu Macbeth and Ninagawa's Hamlet, this presentation examines how tragedy is mediated by the performance of spectacle. It explores how the aesthetic effects of costume, color, rhythm, pattern, movement and melody resist both the psychologism and the precision of words. The protagonist's story thus becomes at once more impersonal and more indeterminate in meaning. The energy and beauty of the spectacle modify the experience of tragedy towards the celebratory. The tensions between the inner vision of Shakespeare's tragedies and the outward visual spectacle are at the same time those which an audience experiences by projecting a memory or expectation of the play onto the spectacle of the foreign. The presentation thus examines the interstitial position which Asian productions of Shakespeare occupy, rather than treating Shakespeare's localization ''inside" an Asian culture.

12:00-2:00 Lunch Break

CROSS-DRESSING EAST AND WEST (chair: Stephen Orgel, Stanford University)

2:00-3:00: Jim Reichert (Stanford University), "The Takarazuka Otoko-yaku: Players of Male Roles in the All-Female Theatrical Revue, Takarazuka" This presentation will focus on the players of male roles in the all-female theatrical revue known as Takarazuka. Founded in 1913, the Takarazuka Revue immediately became a sensation, epitomizing for many people the new cultural phenomenon "modern life" (modan seikatsu). A popular review, with an emphasis on romantic melodrama and spectacular musical numbers, the Revue maintains its popularity today. The fan base consists mostly of women; the focus of their adoration are the otoko-yaku, or female actors who specialize in playing male characters. Described by many fans as their idealized vision of the perfect man, the otoko-yaku dominate the Revue, consistently occupying the position of "top star" for each of the five troupes. The history of the Revue, its organizational structure, and performances style will be strikingly illustrated by visual images and video clips.

3:15-4:15: Yoko Takakuwa (Chuo University, Tokyo ) "The Seven Roles of Osome: The Possibilities of Fe/male Impersonations in Kabuki" Although the practice of boy actors performing female roles in England did not outlive Shakespeare by many years, the onnagata, or specialist in female impersonation, is still crucial to Kabuki theater. In Osome Hisamatsu Ukina no Yomiuri (1813), Namboku Tsuruya explores the dramatic possibilities of multiple impersonations, creating seven characters of different genders, ages and classes through a single actor. In this play, popularly called The Seven Roles of Osome, the onnagata impersonates the heroine Osome, her lover Hisamatsu, her mother Teisho, Hisamatsu's fiancee Omitsu, his elder sister Takekawa, the farmer's wife Saku (or Osome's brother's love Koito in the modern version), and Oroku as a new type of female role, famous for her audacious speech. This presentation examines how the onnagata impersonates different fe/male roles, illustrating gender performance through clips from the latest production starring Tamasaburo Bando (b. 1950), one of today's most eminent onnagata, at the Kabuki-za, Tokyo, in 2003.

4:30-5:30: Eileen Chow (Harvard University) "Mei Lanfang and Cinema" This presentation will discuss the famous female impersonator Mei Lanfang's triumphant U.S. tour in the 1930 and the subsequent, enduring cinematic fascination with Peking Opera as spectacle.



Pigott Theater (Two shows - at 6 and 8 pm)


9:30 (Memorial Auditorium)
MAQBOOL - based on William Shakespeare's MACBETH
Macbeth transported to the contemporary Mumbai underworld
For synopsis, cast, images, and more, visit http://www.maqboolthefilm.com
Premiering at our event, this film as been screened at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Berlin, and Marrakech.


SUNDAY (Kresge Auditorium)


10am - noon NORI SAWA will show his puppets in WALLENBERG HALL

12 noon: ISMAIL MERCHANT book signing at Stanford's Cantor Center for the Visual Arts, featuring his latest book My Passage from India and his cookbook Ismail Merchant's Passionate Meals

1:30-2:30: Sudipto Chatterjee (University of California, Berkeley)
"Moor or Less? Othello Under Surveillance, Calcutta, 1848"

This presentation is about cultural surveillance and resistance as seen in a theatrical "incident" in colonial Calcutta, 1848, when a racially segregated English theater, the Sans Souci, decided to present Shakespeare's Othello, the Moor of Venice, with the part of Othello played by a "native Gentleman," a Bengali called Bustomchurn Addy. Up to this time, all non-white characters in English plays had been played by white actors on the British stage of Calcutta. Addy's appearance as Othello, just a few years after the African-American actor, Ira Alridge (who played the Moor in Philadelphia and launched a career as an actor in Europe itself) crossed the racial divide. But Addy's crossing never launched a flourishing career, and was riddled with numerous controversies. This presentation will tell the fascinating story of Addy's face-off with Shakespeare and Shakespeare's, in turn, with him.

2:45-3:45 Ruru Li (University of Leeds)
"Wu Hsing-Kuo's Solo Performance of King Lear: Modernity vs. Tradition"

This presentation focuses on a bold and experimental solo performance entitled King Lear: Wu Hsing-Kuo Meets Shakespeare (Li Er zai ci, literally "Lear is here"). In this work Wu Hsing-kuo performed ten roles including himself as a contemporary Taiwanese actor, covering five conventional character types in Peking Opera, those of the male warrior, the singing male, the singing female, the vivacious female, and the clown. The three acts of the adaptation set up a system in which two parallel stories develop at the same time: Wu Hsing-kuo explores and attempts to understand Lear; a contemporary Taiwanese meets and talks to Shakespeare; and a twenty-first century jingju actor wrestles with traditional theatrical form.

4:00-5:00: Ania Loomba (University of Pennsylvania)
"Shakespearean Masala Mix: Form, Ideology and the Marketplace in Indian Shakespeares"

This presentation will look at key Shakespearian productions in postcolonial India: Kishore Sahu's Bombay film adaptation of Hamlet; the performances of Hamlet in the North-eastern state of Mizoram; Sadanam Balakrishnan's Othello in Kathakali; Roysten Abel's multi-lingual play Othello a Play in Black and White, Jayaraj's Kaliyattam, a Malayalam film version of Othello, and finally, Arjun Raina's Magic Hour which plays with A Midsummer Night's Dream. It will feature video clips of these performances, and discuss the way in which they comment on the changing place of Shakespeare in Indian culture, as well as use Shakespeare to raise their own concerns about theater and Indian society.


GRANDE FINALE: An evening with ISMAIL MERCHANT of Merchant Ivory Productions
Ismail Merchant will address his life and work, before a full screening of the film
(co-sponsored by the Stanford Film Society)
Join us for this finale to the Shakespeare in Asia Festival on Stanford's Community Day
Kresge Auditorium -- 7 - 10 pm