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Ferrari, Rossella (2004) Da Madre Courage e i suoi figli a Jiang Qing e i suoi mariti. Percorsi brechtiani in Cina. [From Mother Courage and her Children to Jiang Qing and her Husbands. Brechtian Trajectories in China]. Venice: Cafoscarina.

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This book examines the fundamental steps of the 'marriage of seduction and betrayal' that underlies the intercultural relationship between Chinese and Brechtian theatres, tracing the reception trajectory of Brecht’s model in China since the 1950s. Through the analysis of major Chinese productions of Brechtian plays and of the work of some of China’s foremost theatre practitioners (Huang Zuolin, Gao Xingjian, Sha Yexin, etc) the book argues that the Chinese reception of the Brechtian paradigm essentially unfolded by means of interaction of two antithetical stages, ultimately producing a final synthesis. The first two steps of such a dialectic trajectory – defined here as 'passive' and 'productive' reception – focus on Huang Zuolin’s productions of Mother Courage and her Children (1959) and Life of Galileo (1979). Albeit marked by unprecedented formal innovation, Courage failed to generate substantial effects in the sociocultural sphere whereas Galileo, despite its fundamental role as socio-political commentary, represented a partial retrogression in aesthetic terms. The synchronization of the formal/aesthetic and ideological/political motors of interculturalism –– both essential in turning artistic exchanges into meaningful sociocultural phenomena – is eventually achieved in a third phase of 'cultural appropriation', in which Brechtian motifs are assimilated and reworked into the local production, often acting as platforms of deconstruction of dominant narratives. In this final stage – exemplified by works such as Sha Yexin’s If I were for Real and Jiang Qing and her Husbands – the encounter 'at the crossroads of culture' culminates in a dual path of aesthetic innovation and cultural critique, thus representing the ultimate synthesis of the process of indigenization of the 'foreign' for the purposes of the 'own', and the highest development of the functions of theatrical interculturalism in relation to the Brechtian model in China.

Item Type: Authored Books
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of China and Inner Asia
ISBN: 9788875430535
Date Deposited: 28 May 2008 15:47

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