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Reading As An Interaction With The Past

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Chapter Summary

This chapter shows how reading replicates theatrical experience through the introduction and the layout of performance illustration. Appearing on single half-folio pages interspersed every few pages, performance illustration invokes the theatrical experience only periodically. The aspect of public intervention and control is particularly meaningful in the publisher/illustrator’s effort to replicate theatrical experience with performance illustration. In the drama publications of the Wanli period, the theatrical convention of the kaichang is incorporated through the medium of illustration. In both pre-Wanli and Wanli eras, illustrations of the kaichang bear certain similarities, as they are all inspired by theatrical performance. The illustrations included in Gaoshi Shanfang and Fuchun Tang publications indicate that the fumo recites, gestures, and dances all at once, rather than stands stock-still. The combination of drama text and performance illustration, like performance itself, brings history into the present.

Keywords: drama publications; Fuchun Tang; Gaoshi Shanfang; kaichang; performance illustration; public intervention; theatrical performance; Wanli period



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