From Teahouse to Playhouse

Joshua Goldstein

in Drama Kings

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247529
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932791 | DOI:
From Teahouse to Playhouse

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This chapter describes the late Qing teahouse as a performative space, focusing less on the dramas enacted onstage than on the performance of social roles offstage and the relations between actors and audience. Such an approach allows us to map changing aspects of late-Qing and Republican-era sociality. Through its architectural design and seating arrangements, the teahouse coordinated the distribution of gendered social and political differences through which late imperial society was organized. Its replacement by the architecturally modern stage (wutai) and playhouse (juchang) during the Republican era implied changes in the fundamental principles of daily social and political practice. The modern playhouse concretized a shift in everyday epistemology, in the ways representation was constructed and experienced in China's modernizing cities.

Keywords: Qing teahouse; performative space; Republican-era sociality; late imperial society; modern playhouse

Chapter.  13320 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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