Language and Literature
The performance of traditional Chinese drama (xiqu) could be an imagination of stage performing, which is very different from that of Western performances, especially when it comes to the thirteenth century Yuan Zaju plays. British sinologist David Hawkes had raised one question regarding the stage performing arts in some Yuan Zaju plays in 1971. He tried to answer the question of how to hang up the leading actor on stage in the thirteenth century. In his research, Hawkes had analysed the stage settings of Yuan Zaju, and the scale of theatres in ancient China through historical texts, yet he hardly proposed a positive answer to the question. Apart from Hawkes’s discussion, there is a worth mentioning aspect, which is the manifestation of transcultural differences between Chinese and Western theatrical cultures, in Hawkes’ research. That is to say, Hawkes constantly referred to Western performances and theatres in his analysis of the stage performing arts of Yuan Zaju to seek similarities. By making such comparison, Hawkes had held the viewpoints of Western theatric culture and become a representative of that. As a result, there are cross-cultural differences existed between Yuan Zaju and Western performances in his analysis. Therefore, this paper attempts to focus on the stage of Yuan Zaju. First, this paper will discuss the stage performing arts of Yuan Zaju in the thirteenth century to answer Hawkes’ question. Second, this paper will try to discover and anaylse cross-cultural differences between Chinese xiqu and Western performances introduced in Hawkes’ discussion.