Yiwen Wu

yiwen wu
Cohort Year: 2020
Education: BA, University of Virginia 2017; MA, UChicago 2019

TAPS/East Asian Languages and Civilizations

My interests in Chinese opera and the history of performance have emerged from one fundamental question: How do stories evolve across time and space? I want to explore the modality of Chinese opera across mediums, across decades, and across evolving national cultures.

Along this line of inquiry, the dynamic interplay between performance and its medium fascinates me the most: How does media awareness affect our conceptions of performance? How does the experience of reading, listening, and watching enrich each other? I seek to explore performance as a living heritage–an amorphous assemblage of cultural conventions that continues to furnish the page, the stage, the screen, and our everyday life.

More specifically, I am drawn to the transitional period from the imperial nineteenth century through the iconoclastic twentieth century because of its revolutionary nature and proliferation of theatrical entertainment. My interests in this period can be best exemplified by my Master’s thesis, “Actor, Character, and Theater: An Adaptation of Macbeth in Chinese Opera.” a case study of Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene in a 1986 kun opera production.