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Mei Lan-Fang and Chinese Drama.

Mei Lan-Fang and Chinese Drama.

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Boston Book Fair 2023 / China / Theatre
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Mei Lan-Fang and Chinese Drama.

N.p., China Institute in America, [1930].
4to, 24 pp., [16] l.ill.

In original wrappers. Issued without title page.
In good condition, light wear to wrapper edges, small stains to back cover, minor tears to spine foot and around edges, small stain to one page.

The book focuses on Mei Lanfang (1894-1961), a prominent male interpreter of female roles and the phenomena of modern Chinese theater. Mei, often referred to as the 'Queen of Peking Opera', played a pioneering role in introducing Beijing Opera to foreign countries, engaging in cultural exchanges with Japan, the United States, and other regions. He embarked on global tours, forging friendships with influential figures in the Western entertainment industry, including the likes of Charlie Chaplin. During his visit to North America in 1930, Mei even had the opportunity to explore Hollywood, where he was warmly received by renowned stars such as Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. 
This booklet includes several articles such as a biographical sketch, 'Some Aspects of Chinese Theatrical Art' by P.C. Chang, a professor at Nankai University, an abbreviated article about the artist by a theater critic for the New York Times Stark Young, 'The Character Types and the Chinese Stage', and 'Some Outstanding Characteristics and Conventions of the Chinese Theatre' by Chi Ju Shan, a professor of Chinese Drama at Peiping University. The book is enriched with photographs of the artist in various roles, images of facial paintings depicting well-known characters from history, fiction, and supernatural realms, theatrical properties and stage weapons, musical instruments, costumes, and even beards.
During that time, two similar editions of the book were published: this booklet and another edition primarily dedicated to Lanfang's American tour.
It is known that in March-April 1935, Mei Lanfang's theatre visited the USSR, where the artist was observed by influential figures such as K. Stanislavsky, V. Meyerhold, B. Brecht, A. Tairov, S. Tretyakov, and S. Eisenstein. All of them acknowledged the profound influence of Mei on their artistic perspectives and thinking.

OCLC locates one copy of this edition in the USA only: in the University of California Library. There are more four copies: in the University of British Columbia Library (Canada), in the National Library of France, in the Chinese University of Hong Kong Library and in the Berlin State Library. 

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