Please join the Theater and Performance Studies Workshop for:
Ph.D. Candidate, East Asian Languages and Civilizations| University of Chicago
Who will Present:
Reading as Watching: The Theatricalization of Riddles in 16th and 17th-Century China
Respondent: Arianna Gass, Ph.D. Candidate in English/TAPS, University of Chicago
Wednesday, April 28,
4:00 – 5:30 PM CT
* please note that this is not our usual time *
We are committed to making our workshop fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Please direct any questions or concerns to the workshop coordinators, Arianna Gass (email@example.com) and Catrin Dowd (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ABSTRACT: To what extent could a printed surface of a play overcome its textuality to simulate an imaginary theatrical spectacle? Can a performance be watched invite a more attentive reading? What, after all, does it mean to “watch” and “read” a play during a time when staging and publishing drama took place simultaneously? This chapter attempts to answer these questions by putting two 16th and 17th-century Chinese plays in dialogue: Zen Master Yu by the idiosyncratic playwright and artist Xu Wei and Spring Lantern Riddles by the notorious official Ruan Dacheng. Through the lens of “riddle” by emphasizing its puzzling-resolving process, I demonstrate an interplay between reading and watching, and a dynamic contest between the playwright/author and the spectator/reader distinctive to the early modern Chinese theater world.