Gao Xingjian entered the theatrical world in controversy and has subsequently sought out a means of expression that exceeds traditional boundaries of nation and culture. Working in the interstices of Chinese and French traditions, his plays continue to explore representations of the individual. By his own insistence, Gao’s plays are apolitical; they subscribe to no working system of culture or politics. Originally writing in Beijing, his plays like Chezhan caught the eyes of critics who decried Gao’s radical embracement of individual will. After emigrating from China, he landed in Paris and began to write predominately in French and thus created an new genre of theatre. Through a creative blending of traditional Chinese theatre aesthetics, i.e. jingju and huaju, with an Absurdist sensibility, Gao’s French language plays offer a complicated brand of theatre moving beyond expatriate literature and celebrating the primacy of the individual in a transcultural environment. Using post-structural and semiotic paradigms I explore how Gao champions the individual in his French plays. Ultimately, I argue how in spite of his own protestations Gao in fact is a new brand of intellectual. He is not a talking head for any specific exploited class, but an intellectual for the individual.
|Keywords:||Gao Xingjian, Globalization, Indentity, Individual, Theatre, China, France, Intellectual|
Assistant Professor of Theatre, Department of Theatre, College of Arts and Sciences, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA
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