Eyes on <i>Jingju</i>

Eugenio Barba

in The Soul of Beijing Opera

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9789622099944
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882207394 | DOI:
Eyes on Jingju

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This section discusses Jingju, which literally means “Beijing drama”, and is the Chinese word for the theatrical genre known in the West as “Peking/Beijing Opera”. It defines jingju as a total theatre which emphasizes stylization over realism. It includes the Chinese terms for jingju's four basic skills, translated by Elizabeth Wichman as “singing, speaking, dance-acting, and combat”. It elucidates that “dance-acting” includes pure dance and pantomime as well as the visible results of “acting” in the Western sense, while “combat” in this non-mimetic theatre encompasses stylized fighting with swords and spears, martial arts, and acrobatics. It further elucidates how performers and spectators approach jingju, what it meant to people at different times, and how it managed to evolve and survive throughout the twentieth century.

Keywords: jingju; Beijing drama; Beijing Opera; theatrical genre; stylization; realism; singing; speaking; dance-acting; combat

Chapter.  5943 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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