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The Soul of Beijing OperaTheatrical Creativity and Continuity in the Changing World$
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Ruru Li

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9789622099944

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789622099944.001.0001

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Training a Total Performer:

Training a Total Performer:

Four Skills and Five Canons

(p.55) 2 Training a Total Performer:
The Soul of Beijing Opera

Eugenio Barba

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter focuses on the learning process which will offer a social and theatrical context for the further investigation of jingju performances. It discusses the importance of “basic techniques” and the “mouth/heart” method in training actors for a total theatre of “singing, speaking, dance-acting, and combat”, and how they are trained to reconcile the formalized rules of performance with the ability to be creative. It notes that performers are the key to the process; through their lengthy, rigorous, and strictly disciplined training, actors acquire competence in the skills needed in this stylistic theatre. The chapter emphasizes that this groundwork leads the trainees towards conventionalization, the principle described by Li Yuru as “the soul of jingju”, which raises physical skills to the level of performance art.

Keywords:   learning process, jingju, basic techniques, heart method, training actors, stylistic theatre, conventionalization, Li Yuru, performance art

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