Cheng Yanqiu —

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:
Cheng Yanqiu —

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This chapter discusses why the practice of the male dan (male actor playing female roles) flourished in this period despite public censure on moral grounds. It examines how Cheng Yanqiu, a male dan, transformed the role's performance art by giving his female characters a strong personality. It describes Cheng Yanqiu (1904–58), as one of the Four Great (male) Dan who specialized in the qingyi role. It further describes that Cheng was a middle-aged man, 5 feet 9 inches tall, heavily built and weighing about 200 pounds, with hands that had become rough and covered in calluses through working in the fields harvesting sweet corn and sesame seed.

Keywords: male dan; public censure; Cheng Yanqiu; performance art; female characters

Chapter.  17133 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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