Staging Shakespeare in China


Li Ruru

ISBN : 978-962-209-629-5

Film, Media, Fine Arts

December 2003

332 pages, 6″ x 9″, 14 color illus.

  • HK$225.00

Also available in Hardback HK$395.00

Shashibiya is an intriguing discussion of the levels of ‘filtering’ that any Shakespeare performance in China undergoes, and a close examination of how these filters reflect the continually-changing political, social and cultural practices. The study traces the history of Shakespeare performance in China over the past hundred years, focussing in detail on eleven productions in mainstream, operatic and experimental forms in the post-Mao era. Li Ruru’s intimate knowledge of her subject makes this the most up-to-date research available on staging Shakespeare in China.

Li Ruru is from a famous theatre family and experienced the Cultural Revolution during her teenage years. Later she acquired B.A. and M.A. degrees in drama and literature at the Shanghai Theatre Academy, then left China in the mid-1980s to pursue her doctoral studies and research in Chinese, comparative drama and cross-cultural theatre studies. She is now Senior Lecturer in Chinese Studies at the University of Leeds.

“Li carries the narrative with excitement and energy so that the reader is carried along by her infectious enthusiasm. Many people in the West interested in Chinese theatre and Shakespeare performance critics will all want to give this excellent work the sustained attention it deserves.” —Peter Holland, University of Notre Dame, and former director of the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon

“Li makes nonsense of the conventional distinction between scholarly and general reader. Her fundamental honesty heartens the reader to overcome, and indeed relish, the occasional tougher stuff of culture-specific differences. Boldly and excitingly, she helps us to understand how universal and timeless Shakespeare is.” —William Dolby, translator of Eight Chinese Plays From the Thirteenth Century to the Present and author of A History of Chinese Drama

“Weaving the biographies of major theatrical figures with case studies of principle productions and an unabashedly personal view of the changing society and culture of China during a century of extraordinary turmoil, Li’s intimate, direct, and strikingly honest writing makes exhilarating and thought-provoking reading.” —Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak, Professor and Director of Asian Theatre, University of Hawai’i at Manoa