Springfield, Ohio - It is rare that ancient Asian theatrical presentations are made available to American audiences, and even more rare that they are performed in a small Midwestern city such as Springfield, Ohio. That is why the Wittenberg University theatre and dance department and the Weaving Pine non-profit organization are thrilled to offer a rare glimpse of a Chinese Opera-KunQu presentation by guest lecturer, Grace Hui-Hsin Wang,from 2 to 4 p.m Sunday, Oct. 6 in Hollenbeck Hall's Ness Family Auditorium.
Wang is the artistic director and founding president of the Society of KunQu Arts Inc., located in Washington, DC. Nearly 500 years old, this art form uniquely blends poetic eloquence, musical refinement and dramatics, making it the first and foremost Chinese performance art. The plots are elaborate poems of high literary quality where all motions are expressed by the elaborately made up and resplendently robed actors through dancing, singing and acting. The performance is set against a stark background on a bare stage with minimum props.
"We're so pleased to offer an artist of this caliber to give audiences insight into the beauty and magic that is Chinese theatre," said Shih-Ming Li Chang, associate professor of theatre and dance at Wittenberg. "We hope this intimate setting and open demonstration of the art of makeup and costuming will give people a new appreciation for this very expressive art form Asian audiences have been enjoying for centuries."
Wang has received numerous national awards in China and is a two-time recipient of the Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council. She has taught, performed and demonstrated the art of KunQu at prestigious institutions such as the Smithsonian and the National Gallery of Art.
The Chinese Opera-KunQu lecture and mini-performance at Wittenberg will begin with an open demonstration on makeup and costuming at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Both events are free and open to the public.
The Weaving Pine is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting Chinese culture and arts. To learn more, go online to www.asiawind.com/culturenet/weavingpine.php.
U.S. News and World Report has ranked Wittenberg as among the top "national" liberal arts institutions. "The Insider's Guide to Colleges," published by the Yale Daily News, considers the theatre-dance department to be one of Wittenberg's top departments.