4/28/21 4:00-5:30 pm- Jiayi Chen- “Reading as Watching: The Theatricalization of Riddles in 16th and 17th-Century China”

Please join the Theater and Performance Studies Workshop for:

Jiayi Chen


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 *

Please register HERE to receive a link for the workshop. Pre-circulated paper available HERE .

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 (ariannagass@uchicago.edu) and Catrin Dowd (catrindowd@uchicago.edu).

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.

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