Bao Hongwei 包宏伟

Academic 学者

Theatre of Cruelty: Performing Gay History and Queer Desire in East Palace, West Palace

13: 20-13: 40 CET 28/05/2021

This paper examines East Palace, West Palace (Donggong xigong), the first exility queer-themed and publicly performed Chinese-language play in contemporary China. The play was based on the late Chinese writer Wang Xiaobo’s script, directed by French director Xavier Froment, produced by le Théâtre des Trois Oranges with a Chinese cast, and performed at the Hart Arts Centre in July 2005 (later restaged at the Star Live Theatre in Beijing in January 2009). East Place, West Palace revisits China’s queer history in the 1980s and 90s when homosexuality was still a criminal offence and cruising gay men were frequently subject to police harassment before the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1997. The play dramatised an overnight interrogation of a cruising gay man by a policeman at a police station. In the play, the gay man narrates his own experience and sexual desire, seduces the policeman, and even makes the policeman doubt his own sexuality. Through paying heed to the theatre of cruelty tradition and by enacting sadomasochism on stage, the play depicts the harsh lives of queer people in those years and reveals their longing for love and acceptance. East Palace, West Palace paints a nuanced picture of the queer desire not simply by proclaiming the legitimacy of gay love, but also by complicating it with acute attention paid to the intricate relationship between power and pleasure, the Chinese state and queer people. As an example of avant-garde theatre practice in China, East Palace, West Palace staged taboo topics and issues in a dramatic form in China; it also challenged contemporary China’s theatre scene largely dominated by the Stanislavsky style of performance, traditional Chinese opera, commercial theatre and propaganda theatre.

Hongwei Bao is an Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of Nottingham, UK. He is the author of Queer Comrades: Gay Identity and Tongzhi Activism in Postsocialist China (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press, 2018), Queer China: Lesbian and Gay Literature and Visual Culture under Postsocialism (Routledge, 2020), and Queer Media in China (Routledge, 2020).

残酷戏剧:《东宫西宫》 中的酷儿情欲表演

本文重点研究当代中国大陆第一部公开上演的戏剧作品《东宫西宫》。该剧改编自王小波的同名剧本,由法国导演Xavier Froment导演,三支橘剧社演出。该剧于2005年7月在北京哈特艺术中心首演,2009年1月在星光剧场重演。《东宫西宫》展现的是二十世纪八、九十年代北京性少数的生活。在1997年同性恋非罪化之前,在公共场所活动的同性恋者经常受到警方骚扰。该剧集中展示了发生在一个夜晚公园派出所的故事,一个同性恋者被带到派出所审讯。在审讯过程中,该同性恋者不但大胆讲述了自己的同性情欲,而且使警察对自己的欲望有了怀疑。戏剧编导通过残酷戏剧艺术技巧以及虐恋元素的大胆使用,生动呈现了当时性少数人群的爱欲与渴望。《东宫西宫》通过对同性爱欲的确认,以及对权力和愉悦关系、公权力与性少数关系的深刻探讨,展示了同性情欲的复杂性。《东宫西宫》作为一部先锋戏剧艺术作品,敢于探讨敏感话题,也挑战了当代中国包括斯坦尼体系为主导的学院派戏剧、传统戏曲、商业戏剧和主旋律戏剧等的主导戏剧形式和美学。