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Meng, Ke (2019) Being Subjunctively Liminal: Performing Soliloquy in Contemporary Kunju Theatre. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In this thesis, I construct a theatrical concept of “being subjunctively liminal”, which is derived both from solid cases of contemporary kunju 崑劇(kun drama) performances and from an interdisciplinary investigation of performance studies and modern philosophies. I argue that when the performer is left bare on stage, speaking/singing soliloquies, the moments of direct address elicit a state of being subjunctively liminal that denotes an intersubjective relationship between the performer and the audience, which will alter the ways of thinking about theatre as a method to reflect upon the eternally sophisticated issue between self and society. This thesis also theorises the convention of direct address in kunju. Using the concept as a new way of interpretation, contemporary kunju performances are rejuvenated as a useful site to re-examine some widely discussed issues in kunju studies. For dramatic characters, subjunctive liminality is a problematic state caused by authoritarian Confucian ideology, but this state also exposes their predicaments to the audience through direct address. Their soliloquies showcase their choices in a metaphysical sense: while for some dramatic characters, the subjunctive means to be again reassured and secured by the very same ideology, for others, the subjunctive means to imagine beyond current system and to push the boundary. “Being subjunctively liminal” works as a platform for each living individual to find their own contemporary relevance and resonance through their experiences of watching kunju.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Rossella Ferrari
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2021 14:54

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