- Restrictions on Access:
- Restricted (Penn State Only).
- The nature of the historical relationship between aesthetics and politics in modern Taiwanese theatre, especially after the lifting of martial law (19491987), remains a highly contested issue. At the same time, searching for a new Taiwanese body continues to be a major direction of theatrical experiments and is under-theorized. In regard to historical surveys, Taiwanese scholars such as Chung Ming-Der, Ma Sen, Lin He-Yi, and Chi Wei-Jan have published considerable work on the development of modern Taiwanese theatre. Shih Wan-Shun, Wang Li-Wen, Chang Ivy I Chu, Liang Pei-Lin, Cheng Fan-Ting, and Wu Chen-Tse have all, in their theses and dissertations, attended to questions of thematics and theatrics in modern Taiwanese practice. However, so far, few works have examined the tension between the historical continuum of political oppression and the immediacy of theatrical performance. The continued sedimentation of politics and aesthetics embedded in bodily performance constitutes a dominant research emphasis in performance studies, but has yet to be fully explored in modern Taiwanese theatre. Via a close reading from a biopolitical perspective of the body in text and on stage, my dissertation bridges the scholarly gap between historiography and theory as each pertain to the theatre. I argue that the body carries ideology-ridden messages, making corporeal existence a crucial site deployed by theatre participants to reconfigure the idea of Taiwan since the Japanese colonial period. In my Introduction, I revisit the historical development of modern Taiwanese theatre pertaining to the body. Chapter One focuses on Tian Chi-Yuan (, 19641996) and his White Water (, Baishui 1993). Concentrating on Tians multiple schemas of the body, I argue for a constructivist model of national identity to consider the experiment of modern Taiwanese theatre as a critical hybrid of borrowing and rejecting local traditional resources and foreign cultural references. Chapter Two shifts the focus to two of the most significant playwrights and directors in modern Taiwanese theatre, Stan Lai (, 1954 ) and Hugh K. S. Lee (, 19552013). The realistic style of performance, or critical realism, a term suggested by Tobin Nellhaus, of Lees Far Away from Home (, Xi Chu Yang Guan 1988) and Lais A Dream like a Dream (, Ru Meng Zhi Meng 2000) foreground the nuanced flow between social realities and theatrical representations in which the enacted body can express memories and traumas in response to defining historical junctures. Chapter Three explores the work of Robert Wilson (1941 ) and Suzuki Tadashi (1939 ) and their intercultural, flagship productions in twenty-first-century Taiwan, with special attention to Wilsons Orlando (2009) and Suzukis La Dame aux Camlias (2011). Overall, I argue that modern Taiwanese theatre provides a powerful instance of intercultural performance functioning as a subjectivity reformed via an emotional articulation of a transfigured postcolonial, political, and cultural identity. In the Conclusion, I reiterate the ways in which the body continues to be an experimental site for challenging issues of identity in modern Taiwanese theatre. By analyzing performances in the postmartial law era, I offer micro-reading of the body in performance and formulate an analytical angle on performance with sociopolitical specificities. On this basis, I show that the concepts of modernity, trauma, and subjectivitythemes repeatedly tackled by scholarsare more than abstract notions and textual representations. Instead, these concepts also constitute physical practice by reflexively generating knowledge and affect. I am, therefore, offering an argument in opposition to the idea of interpreting modern Taiwanese theatre as an attempt to construct Taiwan. In my account, modern Taiwanese theatre functions as a biopolitical practice that refracts identity struggles captured in history and in the present day of an impossibly delayed Taiwanese identity.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University 2016.
- Technical Details:
- The full text of the dissertation is available as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file ; Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view the file.
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