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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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Ma Yongan—

Ma Yongan—

A Painted-Face Role Type and a Non-Painted-Face Character

(p.155) 5 Ma Yongan—
The Soul of Beijing Opera

Eugenio Barba

Hong Kong University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of Jiang Qing's “jingju revolution” on actors and on the genre. It elucidates how jingju's fundamental aesthetics were altered and how certain conventions of singing/speaking/movement and the colour pattern of the jing role's facial make-up were eliminated when contemporary costumes, Western musical instruments and composition, lighting, and scenery entered the revolutionary contemporary model theatre. It notes that this is perhaps the most peculiar phenomenon produced by the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966–76). It further notes that during this period, the entire traditional repertoire and the newly written historical plays (like Tang Sai'er) were abolished, while model theatre and a small number of its adherents, directly guided by Mao's wife Jiang Qing (1914–91), dominated the stage, broadcasting, and screen.

Keywords:   Jiang Qing, actors, genre, aesthetics, contemporary model theatre, Cultural Revolution, Tang Sai'er, Mao

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