A Stranger in my Teahouse

A Stranger in my Teahouse 1.1

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Description: A theatrical performance was enacted by two Action Researcher/Performers within a suburban teahouse in Beijing.  The narrative script communicated the experience of a stranger in a foreign country.  English text and Mandarin characters were used to extrapolate further the contentions between the Australian and Beijing resident involved.  The pouring of tea was the cue for a change in scene.  The Action Researcher/Performers wore masks over their mouths during the performance to indicate their inability to speak with one another.  They were also veiled behind a semi-translucent material for the duration of the piece so that the audience was unable to see them directly.  The arrival of the first Action Researcher/Performer within the canopy referenced the traditional method of transportation by emperors, dignitaries, government officials or brides at a wedding ceremony, in each instance the preferenced figure avoiding exposure to the public.  In this instance the canopy acted as both a shield against hostility from without and a strong feeling of otherness from within.  As well, it conveyed a strong sense of other worldliness, remote yet using familiar cues and clues to meaning.  The traditional teahouse space implanted with new narratives of ‘otherness’ became a site of charged expression.  Historic and modern Chinese poems as well as Confucius sayings were transcribed with black marker pen onto white fabric, which was used as props throughout the performance.

Alley, R. (2001) Du Fu Selected Poems, Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

Bingjun, P., Minford, J. & Golden, S. (eds. & trans.) (1993) 100 Modern Chinese Poems, Beijing: China Translation & Publishing Corporation.

Ding, W.D. (1999) 100 Saying of Confucius, Beijing: China Translation & Publishing Corporation.

© Astra Howard 2014