Uncle Doggie’s Nirvana


Uncle Doggie’s Nirvana
[Gou’er ye niepan, 1986]
Huaju (spoken drama)
Uncle Doggie’s Nirvana, also referred to in English-language publications as both Doggy Man Nirvana and The Nirvana of Dog’s Father, is a Huaju (spoken drama) by Liu Jinyun (a.k.a. Jin Yun, b. 1938). Widely regarded as the most significant Chinese drama of the 1980s, it premiered at the Beijing People’s Art Theatre (directed by Lin Zhaohua) in 1986 and won the National Best Play Award. Peasant Chen Hexiang is nicknamed ‘Dog’ after his father eats a live dog upon a dare by a landlord promising land. The play chronicles Dog’s efforts to retain ownership of his land throughout three decades of political movements and social upheavals. Theatrically, socialist-realist and experimental expressionist techniques are combined, with a non-linear plot featuring flashbacks. First translated into English by Ying Ruocheng and premiered in the USA under his direction at Virginia Common-wealth University in 1993, it was also translated and adapted as Dog and His Master by Wang Luoyong and Michael Johnson-Chase and staged in 1996 at the Lark Theatre Company in Wisconsin. Ying’s translation was published in a 1997 Oxford anthology and in a side-by-side Chinese/English version by China Translation Publishing Corp.
in 1999. Shiao-ling Yu’s translation (The Nirvana of Grandpa Doggie) is included in her anthology.
Jin, Yong (1996). ‘The Nirvana of Grandpa Doggie’. In Yu Shiao-ling (ed. and trans.), Chinese Drama after the Cultural Revolution. Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 349–422.
——(1997). ‘Uncle Doggie’s Nirvana’, Trans. Ying Ruocheng. In Martha Cheung and Jane Lai (eds), An Oxford Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press.
Pan, P. (1999). Triumphant Dancing in Chains: Two Productions of Huaju Plays in the Late 1980s’. Asian Theatre Journal 1:107–21.
CLAIRE CONCEISON

Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. . 2011.

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