New York. China Institute in America. No date. Ca. 1930.
Booklet, 12 ¼ x 9 ¼ inches, 38 unnumbered pages plus decorative grey paper wrappers. Free-edge corners lightly bumped; former owners name in pencil on first page. Contents in good clean condition overall. Program with a collection of essays introducing the work of actor Mei Lan-Fang to the American Public. The first portion of the program contains a series of essays relating to Mei Lan-Fang and the Chinese Drama. Essays include a discussion of Mei Lan-Fang's appeal to his Chinese audience; another essay on the Chinese theatre as a distinctive art form; other essays on the character types in Chinese theatre and the role of the female impersonator, Mei Lan-Fang's specialty. Further essays focus on the characteristics (or "peculiarities" the term used) of Chinese drama, with additional essays on costumes, stage properties and symbolism and musical instruments. The rest of the program provides synopses of eleven plays in his repertoire and a short introduction to a dozen "scenes" that enrich his repertoire—primarily in the form of dance. An uncommon program focusing on an actor whose work had a major impact on Western Drama. Perhaps Mei Lan-Fang's greatest impact on Western theatre is found in the work of German dramatist Bertolt Brecht, especially Brecht’s concept of "Verfremdungseffekt," understood as a "distancing" or "estrangement" effect. The program and essays provide valuable documentation of Mei Lan-Fang's presence and impact on American theatre. Item #54694