Letizia Fusini

Letizia Fusini

Cross-cultural Encounters In World Theatre: Bertolt Brecht, The “Alienation” Effect And Chinese Drama

The German playwright and drama theorist Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is particularly famous for his theory of alienation as a technique of acting and as an “effect” on the audience. Brecht called them, respectively, Verfremdung and Verfremdungseffekt (or V-effekt); however, in lieu of “alienation,” a more appropriate term to render these words into English would be “estrangement,” for alienation is exactly what Brecht intended to prevent through his newly devised performance apparatus, also known as epic theatre. By replacing traditional character impersonation with third-person narration and by employing a series of other devices aimed at defamiliarizing the dramatic events, Brecht wanted the audience to avoid...

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Reinterpreting The Tradition: A Contemporary Retelling Of Tang Xianzu’s “The Handan Dream” By The Guangzhou Dramatic Arts Centre

Conceived in 2016 in Guangzhou and previously performed in Beijing and St. Petersburg, the Guangzhou Dramatic Arts Centre’s production of The Handan Dream had its UK premiere at the Hackney Empire in London on January 25-27, 2018. Authored by the illustrious Ming-dynasty scholar and playwright Tang Xianzu—a contemporary of Shakespeare—The Handan Dream (Handan ji, 1601) is a classic Chinese-language play about an epiphanic dream, which upsets and brings a radically new perspective to the life of Lu Sheng, a young and frustrated scholar whose high aspirations for a successful career in the civil service have so far failed repeatedly. Surprisingly though,...

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“A River All Red” And “The Phoenix Returns Home” By The China National Peking Opera Company At London’s Sadler’s Wells

Founded in 1955 by the renowned Chinese theatre star Mei Lanfang, the China National Peking Opera Company (Guojia jingju yuan)–currently the top of its kind in the People’s Republic of China– has recently returned to the London stage to perform for the third consecutive time at Sadler’s Wells Theatre. This year’s playbill featured two productions–A River All Red and The Phoenix Returns Home. These are two diametrically opposed plays, which a Western audience might easily classify as a tragedy and a comedy, respectively. Jingju (Peking Opera) is a 200-year-old style of indigenous Chinese theatre and a true specimen of...

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