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The Localized Acceptance of Modern American Plays in China

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2013, 26(3), pp.337-354
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Du Xinyu 1

1Shandong University, P.R. China

Accredited

ABSTRACT

From the early 20th century on, many modern American playwrights and their plays have been introduced to and accepted by Chinese audience. Then, studies on American drama became prosperous in China after the opening-up policy of China. The article discerns the acceptance of modern American plays in the new era mainly through three American playwrights: Eugene O’Neill, Arthur Miller and Sam Shepard. O’Neill is the American playwright who is most familiar to Chinese audience and the one whose plays are studied most widely by Chinese scholars. The acceptance of him is generalized from two aspects. Firstly, the article shows the acceptance of him through some related drama seminars, collections of critical essays on him and the publication of his Anthology in China. Then, the article discusses the localized adaptation of O’Neill’s two plays: Desire Under the Elms has been adapted to Sichuanese Opera and Henan Quju Opera while Anna Chiristie has been adapted to Yongju Opera, and all such adaptations are very successful in China. Miller visited China several times. Therefore, the article sets out to review his visits to China, the staging of Death of a Salesman in China with Miller himself as the director, and his friendship with many Chinese dramatists and scholars. Shepard is not so widely accepted in China as O’Neill and Miller, but his later family plays, which can be depicted as neo-realistic ones, have been staged and accepted by Chinese audience, too, especially his Fool for Love, which became the opening drama of People’s Art Mini Theatre in 1995. Through these three playwrights, the article aims to analyze the localized acceptance of modern American plays on Chinese stage: when the American dramatists were introduced to China, their plays were adapted in accordance with the interests of Chinese audience. They are adapted so successfully that some of them have won many prizes and become classical plays in the country. Then, by analyzing some features of the dramatists and their plays, the article discerns reasons why these playwrights and their plays are widely accepted in China.

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