Olivia Xing 邢淅璇
MFA1 – School of Theatre – Acting
The tale of Niulang and Zhinü (“the cowherd and the weaver girl”) is an ancient Chinese folklore, the origin of Chinese Valentine’s Day, and now required reading in Fifth Grade textbooks. But with the typical swan maiden plot, it stealthily romanticizes theft, kidnap, and rape. We researched into the history of the tale and found earlier texts that were rather feminist cautionary tales than romantic propaganda. This pop-up book project is two-folded. The initial performance explores the transformation of the text in China’s ever- changing cultural and social contexts. Then the installation of the book that endures the performance is a silent resistance against contemporary censorship that edits and erases history. We want to reclaim the tale and give voices back to Zhinü and thousands of women. We would like you, the observers, to think about the problems of folklore archetypes in your own culture and perhaps also about how you will tell stories in the future.
The performance will be in Chinese.
Gefei Liu, Chujun Jiao, Skye Wang, Zimo Zhao