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Acting, Quren, And The Authenticity Of Incongruity

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Chapter Summary

Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century fiction commentators valued different acting styles for different reasons. Fiction commentators particularly favored one acting style. The author calls this style 'incongruous acting'. Acting with incongruity is present when a fictional character, such as Lu Zhishen in Shuihu zhuan or Monkey in Xiyou ji, impersonates another identity, experiences a transformation, or puts on a masquerade, but the change or shift remains incomplete giving rise to clashes of performative codes. This chapter begins with a discussion of a few characteristic examples of acting with incongruity. It argues that the primary significance of acting with incongruity derived from fiction commentators linking incongruous acting with the important and valorized concept of spontaneity. The chapter discusses how the "Li Zhi" commentator used the one-word identities 'Buddha' and 'Monkey' as markers of incongruity to illustrate a provocative conceptualization of identity through playful theatricals.

Keywords: incongruous acting; Li Zhi; playful theatricals



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