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Mei Lanfang and Stanislavsky: The (De)construction of an Intercultural Myth on the International Stage

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 November 2020


Mei Lanfang's contact with Stanislavsky during his 1935 tour in the Soviet Union and the latter's often-cited ‘appraisal’ of the acting of traditional Chinese theatre have exerted a profound and lasting influence on the Chinese understanding and evaluation of the art of their traditional theatre. Through extensive research into the related archival material, as well as contemporary records, this article investigates the historical facts and circumstances that underlie this historic intercultural moment on the twentieth-century international stage. It unweaves the historical construction of this remarkable intercultural phenomenon and exposes its political and ideological underpinnings as well as its theatrical and artistic placements and displacements. It underscores the necessity of deconstructing the creation of such an intercultural myth for today's historical understanding of the art of traditional Chinese theatre and, by implication, in a larger context, of the global making of twentieth-century intercultural theatre.

Copyright © International Federation for Theatre Research 2020

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1 ‘Mei Lan-fang Visits Stanislavski’, Moscow Daily News, 1 April 1935, p. 1. For more information on Mei Lanfang's tour in the Soviet Union see Tian, Min, Mei Lanfang and the Twentieth-Century International Stage: Chinese Theatre Placed and Displaced (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), pp. 135–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

2 Stanislavsky's ‘appraisal’ of the acting of traditional Chinese theatre as ‘a regulated and yet free movement’ was cited in Chinese studies with slight variations, such as ‘a regulated and yet free action’, ‘a free movement regulated by the laws (of art)’, or ‘a free action regulated by the laws (of art)’. Here in these English renditions the difference lies in these Chinese words: dongzuo (movement) and xingdong (action); guize (rules, regulations) and guilü (laws). A search of these phrases in the most comprehensive Chinese full-text database, ‘China Academic Journals’, yields over two hundred articles published in China from 1961 through 2019, accessed 4 July 2020. This output does not cover numerous studies published in books and newspapers during the same period.

3 My investigation primarily uses archival records on Mei Lanfang's 1935 tour in the Soviet Union, held by the Soviet All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries (VOKS) at the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF); I. N. Vinogradskaia's chronicle of Stanislavsky's life and work; and recollections by Mei Lanfang and his contemporaries, particularly Yu Shangyuan's account that I recently uncovered of his and Mei Lanfang's meeting with Stanislavsky. The records held by VOKS are the following, as described in their cover sheets and in the electronic inventory on GARF's official website (State Archive of the Russian Federation, Р5283/4/168 (copies of essays sent by Mei Lan-fang, correspondence and reports on the presence of Dr. Mei Lan-fang in the USSR); Р5283/4/211 (correspondence on the visit of the theatre of Mei Lan-fang in the USSR, reports and a summary of conversations with Prof. Chkad [Zhang] and others); Р5283/8/262 (lists of the persons present at the VOKS receptions for the period from 11 February to 11 May 1935); Р5283/8/265 (lists of the persons invited to the VOKS receptions, organized on 2 January and 15 March 1935); Р5283/8/267 (diary of work with Mei Lanfang and other foreigners, recorded conversations, service programmes for foreigners); Р5283/8/269 (diaries of the Department for the Reception of Foreigners for the period from 1 January to 17 October 1935).

4 Mei Lanfang, ‘Jinian Shitannisilafusiji’ (To the Memory of Stanislavsky), Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 17 January 1953, p. 3. The Chinese authors cited in this article had a slightly different transliteration of Stanislavsky's name, hence the slightly varied romanizations of the Chinese transliterations.

5 Mei Lanfang, ‘Shitannisilafusiji yinxiang ji’ (My Impressions of Stanislavsky), Wenyi yuebao (Literature and Art Monthly), 8 (1953), pp. 32–4, here p. 32.

6 Ibid., p. 33.

7 Mei Lanfang, ‘Shitannisilafusiji yinxiang ji’, p. 33; Mei, ‘He Shitannisilafusiji de huijian’ (Meeting with Stanislavsky), Xinmin wanbao (New People's Evening Post), 8 August 1953, p. 1.

8 Mei Lanfang, ‘Huiyi Sitannisilafusiji he Niemiluoweiqi-Danqinke’ (In Memory of Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko), in Mei, Mei Lanfang xiju sanlun (Mei Lanfang's Miscellaneous Writings on Theatre) (Beijing: Zhongguo Xiju Chubanshe, 1959), pp. 201–5, here p. 203.

9 Mei Lanfang, ‘Weizhe renmin, weizhe zuguo meihao de weilai, gongxian chu women de yiqie’ (To the People, to the Beautiful Future of the Nation, We Devote Everything We Have), Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 14 April 1955, p. 3.

10 Ibid.

11 Tian Han, ‘Zhuidao Mei Lanfang tongzhi’ (In Mourning for Comrade Mei Lanfang), Wenyi bao (Literature and Art Gazette), 8 (1961), pp. 3–6, here p. 6.

12 Huang Zuolin, ‘Mantan “xiju guan”’ (A Random Talk on ‘the Idea of the Theatre’), Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 25 April 1962, p. 5; Xiju bao (Theatre Gazette), 4 (1962), pp. 1–7, here p. 5; Tso Lin (Huang Zuolin), ‘The Chinese and Western Theatres: A Study in Contrasting Techniques’, Chinese Literature, 8 (August 1962), pp. 101–11, here p. 108.

13 Mei Shaowu, ‘Mei Lanfang as Seen by His Foreign Audiences and Critics’, in Wu Zuguang, Huang Zuolin and Mei Shaowu, Peking Opera and Mei Lanfang: A Guide to China's Traditional Theatre and the Art of Its Great Master (Beijing: New World Press, 1981), pp. 46–65, here p. 62. Here, ‘a free movement guided by the laws of the art’ is a slightly different English translation of Stanislavsky's same ‘appraisal’ of Mei Lanfang's art – ‘a regulated and yet free movement’ – as remembered by Mei Lanfang.

14 Mei Lanfang, ‘Pamiati Stanislavskogo’ (To the Memory of Stanislavsky), Teatr (Theatre), 9 (1953), pp. 164–5.

15 Mei Lanfang, ‘Pamiati Stanislavskogo’ (To the Memory of Stanislavsky), in S. V. Melik-Zakharov and Sh. Sh. Bogatyrev, comp., Stanislavskii: pisateli, artisty, rezhissery o velikom deiatele Russkogo teatra (Stanislavsky: Writers, Artists, Directors on the Great Leader of the Russian Theatre) (Moscow: Iskustvo, 1963), pp. 245–6; Mei Lan-fang, ‘To the Memory of Stanislavsky’, in Sergei Melik-Zakharov and Shoel Bogatyrev, comp., and Vic Schneierson, trans., K. Stanislavsky 1863–1963 ( Moscow: Progressive Publishers, 1963), pp. 189–90.

16 Komissarzhevsky, V., ‘Mei Lan-fan i ego kniga’ (Mei Lanfang and His Book), in Lanfang, Mei, Sorok let na stsene (Forty Years Onstage), trans. Rozhdestvenskoy, E. and Taskina, V. (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1963), pp. 314Google Scholar, here p. 11; Komissarzhevsky, ‘Pamiati Mei Lan-fana’ (To the Memory of Mei Lanfang), in Komissarzhevsky, Den teatra (Theatre Day) (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1971), pp. 205–19, here p. 217. Emphases are mine.

17 Belousov, R., V tysiachakh ieroglifov: O knigakh i liudiakh (In Thousands of Hieroglyphs: About Books and People) (Moscow: Izdatelstvo Vostochnoi Literatury, 1963), p. 196Google Scholar.

18 L. Eidlin, ‘O velikom artiste: k semidesiatiletiiu Mei Lan-Fana’ (About the Great Artist: On the Seventy-Fifth Birth Anniversary of Mei Lan-fang), Teatr, 10 (October 1970), pp. 141–5, here p. 145.

19 Kukharskii, V., O muzyke i muzykantakh nashikh dnei: stati. vystupleniia (On Music and Musicians of Our Days: Articles. Speeches) (Moscow: Sovetskii Kompozitor, 1979), p. 421Google Scholar.

20 I. N. Vinogradskaia, Zhizn i tvorchestvo K. S. Stanislavskogo: Letopis (The Life and Work of K. S. Stanislavsky: Chronicle), 4 vols., 1863–1938, 2nd edn, Vol. IV, 1928–38 (Moscow: Moskovskii Khudozhestvennyi Teatr, 2003), p. 322. Vinogradskaia quoted from Mei Lan-fang, ‘Pamiati Stanislavskogo’, Teatr, 9 (1953), pp. 164–5.

21 ‘Pervyi iz Grushevogo Sada. Mei Lanfan i Sovetskii teatr’, at;, accessed 21 January 2019. During his stay in the Soviet Union, Gordon Craig met Mei Lanfang but never saw any of his performances. See Tian, Min, ‘Gordon Craig, Mei Lanfang and the Chinese Theatre’, Theatre Research International, 32, 2 (2007), pp. 161–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar, here pp. 162–6.

22 Barba, Eugenio, The Moon Rises from the Ganges: My Journey through Asian Acting Techniques, ed. Masgrau, Lluís, trans. Barba, Judy (Holstebro: Icarus Publishing Enterprise, 2015), p. 90Google Scholar.

23 Banu, Georges, ‘Mei Lanfang: A Case Against and a Model for the Occidental Stage’, trans. Wiswell, Ella L. and Gibson, June V., Asian Theatre Journal, 3, 2 (Autumn 1986), pp. 153–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar, here p. 153; Banu, ‘Mei Lan-fang: Procès et utopie de la scène occidentale’, Revue d'esthétique, n.s., 5 (1983), pp. 133–47, here p. 133.

24 Banu, ‘Mei Lanfang: A Case Against and a Model for the Occidental Stage’, p. 163; Banu, ‘Mei Lan-fang: procès et utopie de la scène occidentale’, p. 139. Banu also cited, from Huang Zuolin, Stanislavsky's comment on Mei's art as ‘regulated and yet free movements’. Banu, ‘Mei Lan-fang: procès et utopie de la scène occidentale’, p. 147, n. 36; Huang Zuolin, ‘Mei Lanfang, Stanislavsky, Brecht: A Study of Contrasts’, in Wu, Huang and Mei, Peking Opera and Mei Lanfang, pp. 14–29, here p. 22.

25 ‘Mei Lan-fang Visits Stanislavski’, Moscow Daily News, 1 April 1935, p. 1.

26 VOKS, ‘Programma dlia G-na Mei Lan-fana’ (Program for Mr. Mei Lan-fang), GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 48 (2); VOKS, ‘Dnevnik raboty s Mei Lan-Fanom’ (Diary of Work with Mei Lan-fang), GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 1 (1).

27 VOKS, ‘Dnevnik raboty s Mei Lan-Fanom’, GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 1 (1).

28 ‘Porazhaet rost kultury! Beseda s Doktorom Mei Lan-Fanom’ (Amazing Growth of Culture! A Talk by Dr. Mei Lanfang), Vecherniaia Moskva (Moscow Evening), 13 April 1935.

29 ‘Ben shi mingliu zuori chahui huanying Mei Lanfang’ (City Dignitaries Hosted a Tea Reception for Mei Lanfang Yesterday), Shen bao, 15 August 1935, p. 14; ‘Mei Lanfang yanshuo: gaijin Zhongguo xiju’ (Mei Lanfang Gave a Speech on the Enhancement of the Chinese Theatre), Dagong bao (L'Impartial), 17 August 1935, p. 4; Xu Xinqin, ‘Ou you guilai: Mei Lanfang tan xin E yanju’ (Upon His Return from Europe, Mei Lanfang Talked about Theatre Productions in the New Russia), Shidai (Times), 8, 5 (1935), p. 12.

30 ‘Zhang Pengchun jiaoshou jiangyan: jiuju yu xinguo – fu E ganxiang’ (Professor Zhang Pengchun Speaking: Old Theatre and New Nation: Impressions and Thoughts of His Visit to Russia), Beiping chenbao (Beiping Morning Post), 28 May 1935, p. 9. In an interview, Zhang Pengchun gave a concise summary of the individual speeches at VOKS's panel discussion on Mei Lanfang's art on 14 April, but did not say anything about Stanislavsky's view of the Chinese theatre. ‘Zhang Pengchun tan Mei Jutuan zai E yanju jingguo’ (Zhang Pengchun Speaks of the Performance Experience of the Mei Theatre Troupe in Russia), Luobinhan (The Robinhood), 10–19 May 1935.

31 Ge Gongzhen and Ge Baoquan, ‘Mei Lanfang zai Sulian’ (Mei Lanfang in the Soviet Union), Guowen zhoubao (China News Weekly), 12, 22 (June 1935), pp. 1–14, here p. 11.

32 Yan Huiqing, Yan Huiqing riji (Yan Huiqing's Diaries), Vol. II (Beijing: Zhongguo Dangan Chubanshe, 1996), pp. 879–88.

33 Yu Shangyuan, ‘Shitannishilafusiji’ (Stanislavsky), Wenxue shidai (Literary Times), 1, 6 (1936), pp. 55–61, here p. 58. Wenxue shidai (1935–6) was a short-lived but important Chinese journal of literature and criticism, featuring some of the best-known Chinese writers and critics at the time. It was edited by Chu Anping, a noted writer, critic and editor, and was published by Shanghai Shidai Tushu Gongsi (Shanghai Times Book Company).

34 Ibid., p. 58.

35 Ibid., pp. 60–1.

36 Stanislavsky was on the list of the invitees (VOKS, ‘Spisok priglashennykh na diskussiiu v VOKS s uchastiem Mei Lan-fana’ (The List of the Invitees to the Discussion at VOKS with the Participation of Mei Lan-fang), GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 15, filed on 10 April), but was crossed out and later erased from the lists of the actual participants in the panel discussion. VOKS, ‘Spisok prisutstvovavshikh na diskussii v VOKS s uchastiem Mei Lan-fana’ (The List of the Participants in the Discussion at VOKS with Mei Lan-fang), GARF, Р5283/4/168, p. 60. This list, which prefaces the censored transcript of the minutes of the panel discussion, where some lines and paragraphs were crossed out but not erased, was a copy of the same list of the invitees originally filed on 10 April. On the list the word ‘invitees’ was crossed out and replaced by the word ‘participants’, and Stanislavsky's name, along with those of eight other personalities, was also crossed out, obviously because they were not present at the discussion. ‘Spisok prisutstvovavshikh na diskussii v VOKS s uchastiem Mei Lan-fana’, GARF, Р5283/4/211, p. 27. This list, which prefaces the official transcript of the minutes of the panel discussion, where the crossed-out lines and paragraphs were erased, left out the name of Stanislavsky and those of the others who were not present.

37 Vinogradskaia, Zhizn i tvorchestvo K. S. Stanislavskogo: Letopis, p. 326.

38 Houghton, Norris, Entrances & Exits: A Life in and out of the Theatre (New York: Limelight Editions, 1991), p. 98Google Scholar.

39 K. S. Stanislavskii, Sobranii sochinenii (Collected Works), Vol. IX, Pisma: 1918–1938 (Letters: 1918–1938), comp. I. N. Vinogradskaia and E. A. Kesler, ed. I. N. Vinogradskaia (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1999), p. 619.

40 Vinogradskaia, Zhizn i tvorchestvo K. S. Stanislavskogo: Letopis, p. 325.

41 VOKS, GARF, Р5283/8/265, p. 32 (2); Р5283/8/265, p. 31. Craig recalled in passing that while in Moscow, he ‘had a word with Stanislavsky, who was sick and in bed’. Gordon Craig, ‘The Russian Theatre To-Day’, London Mercury, 32, 192 (October 1935), pp. 529–38, here p. 538. Craig did not state when and where he had a word with the Russian master.

42 Anatoly Smeliansky, ‘The Last Decade: Stanislavsky and Stalinism’, Theater, 22, 2 (Spring 1991), pp. 7–13, here p. 9; Jean Benedetti, Stanislavski: His Life and Art (London: Methuen, 1999), p. 372.

43 Vinogradskaia, Zhizn i tvorchestvo K. S. Stanislavskogo: Letopis, pp. 320–6.

44 VOKS, GARF, Р5283/8/267, pp. 88, 89; Izvestiia, 12 March 1935, p. 6.

45 VOKS, ‘Dnevnik raboty s Mei Lan-Fanom’ (Diary of Work with Mei Lan-fang), GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 1 (1–2) (covers 28 March to 11 April); Р5283/8/267, p. 81 (covers 14 March to 19 March); Р5283/8/267, p. 5 (covers 20 March to 25 March); Р5283/8/267, p. 22 (covers 13 April to 21 April). In addition, in GARF, Р5283/8/267, n. p., there is a programne of two handwritten pages that covers Mei Lanfang's activities in Leningrad from 1 to 11 April. Several pages of these records were marked with the words, ‘Not subject to disclosure’, and were signed by Z. Kharkovskii, who served as Mei Lanfang's interpreter and recorded Mei's daily activities.

46 Mei Lanfang, ‘Huiyi Sitannisilafusiji he Niemiluoweiqi-Danqinke’, p. 202; Mei Lanfang, Wo de dianying shenghuo (My Life in Cinema) (Beijing: Zhongguo Dianying Chubanshe, 1962), p. 41; Mei Lanfang, ‘Befriending Eisenstein on My First Trip to the Soviet Union’, trans. Anne Rebull, Opera Quarterly, 26, 2–3 (Spring–Summer 2010), pp. 426–34, here p. 427.

47 According to VOKS's records, Stanislavsky, Nemirovich-Danchenko and Meyerhold were on the list of the invitees (VOKS, GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 83; Р5283/8/262, p. 51), but all three were not on the list of the personalities who were present at the luncheon (VOKS, GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 82; Р5283/8/262, p. 50. This record was filed on the following day, 15 March). See also ‘Arosev Gives Luncheon in Honor of Famous Chinese Actor’, Moscow Daily News, 15 March 1935, p. 1. Ge Gongzhen also recalled the presence of Tairov, Eisenstein and Tretyakov at the reception, but not that of Stanislavsky. Ge and Ge, ‘Mei Lanfang zai Sulian’, p. 6.

48 Mei, ‘Shitannisilafusiji yinxiang ji’, p. 32.

49 VOKS, GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 48 (1).

50 VOKS, GARF, Р5283/8/267, p. 81.

51 Vinogradskaia, Zhizn i tvorchestvo K. S. Stanislavskogo: Letopis, p. 320.

52 Stanislavskii, Sobranii sochinenii, p. 664; Laurence Senelick, trans. and ed., Stanislavsky: A Life in Letters (London: Routledge, 2014), p. 607. On 12 May 1937 Mei wrote to Stanislavsky, acknowledging his receipt of the latter's work. ‘Pisma k Konstantinu Sergeevichu Stanislavskomu’ (Letters to Konstantin Sergeevich Stanislavsky), Inostrannaia literatura (Foreign Literature), 10 (October 1956), pp. 211–23, here p. 222.

53 Mei, ‘Shitannisilafusiji yinxiang ji’, pp. 32–4. Later, however, Mei Lanfang identified the production incorrectly as Eugene Onegin. Mei, ‘Huiyi Sitannisilafusiji he Niemiluoweiqi-Danqinke’, p. 203.

54 Yu, ‘Shitannishilafusiji’, pp. 59–60.

55 Zhang Songjia, ‘“Yibu” er bu “huanxing”: Mei Lanfang tan jiu ju gaige’ (‘Moving Forward Does Not Require Change of Form’: Mei Lanfang Speaks of the Reform of the Old Theatre), Jinbu ribao (Progressive Daily), 3 November 1949, p. 3.

56 Zhang Songjia and Wang Kaizeng, ‘Xiang jiu ju gaige qiantu maijin’ (Toward the Future of the Reform of the Old Theatre), Jinbu ribao (Progressive Daily), 30 November 1949, p. 1.

57 Mei, ‘He Shitannisilafusiji de huijian’.

58 Juyin, Jiao, ‘Xiang Shitannisilafusiji xuexi’ (Learning from Stanislavsky), Xiju bao (Theatre Gazette), 1 (1954), pp. 3841Google Scholar, here p. 39.

59 Mei, ‘Jinian Shitannisilafusiji’.

60 Zhifeng, Hu, ‘Xiqu biaoyan de tiyan he biaoxian’ (Experiencing and Expression in the Acting of Traditional Chinese Theatre), Xiju bao (Theatre Gazette), 12 (1985), pp. 47–9Google Scholar, here p. 47.

61 See Tian, Mei Lanfang and the Twentieth-Century International Stage, pp. 107–8, 119–20, 123.

62 Tian Han, ‘Zhuidao Mei Lanfang tongzhi’, p. 6. See also Tian Han, ‘Mei Lanfang jishi shi’ (Chronicle Poems on Mei Lanfang), Renmin ribao (People's Daily), 10 September 1961, p. 7.

63 Tian, ‘Zhuidao Mei Lanfang tongzhi’, p. 6. Two years earlier, in a speech, without providing any context, Tian Han had remarked, ‘Stanislavsky once called the method of our traditional theatre performance “conventionalized [yangshihua] realism”’. Tian Han, ‘Budui xiju huaduo songge’ (Singing the Praise of the Blossom of Theatre Among the Troops), Xiju bao (Theatre Gazette), pp. 3–5, here p. 5.

64 Tian, ‘Mei Lanfang jishi shi’.

65 Mei, ‘Jinian Shitannisilafusiji’; Mei, ‘Pamiati Stanislavskogo’, p. 165; Mei, ‘To the Memory of Stanislavsky’, p. 190.

66 V. Komissarzhevsky, Moscow Theatres, trans. Vic Schneierson and W. Perelman (Moscow: Foreign Language Publishing House, 1959), p. 126. Komissarzhevsky gave no date for the rehearsal. It was 13 June 1938. Vinogradskaia, Zhizn i tvorchestvo K. S. Stanislavskogo: Letopis, p. 449.

67 Komissarzhevsky, ‘Mei Lan-fan i ego kniga’, pp. 11–12; Komissarzhevsky, ‘Pamiati Mei Lan-fana’, p. 217. However, V. F. Sorokin, a Soviet sinologist and author of an impressive monograph on Chinese classical drama, had a different version of Stanislavsky's observation. Sorokin saw Mei's performance in Beijing at the beginning of the 1950s and later wrote about Mei's ‘hand movements’, noting that ‘Stanislavsky said that one can write a whole volume about Mei Lanfang's hands’. V. Sorokin, ‘Pamiati velikogo artista’ (To the Memory of the Great Artist), Problemy Dalnego Vostoka (Problems of the Far East), 2 (1995), pp. 119–24, here p. 123.

68 Komissarzhevsky, ‘Mei Lan-fan i ego kniga’, p. 9; Komissarzhevsky, ‘Pamiati Mei Lan-fana’, p. 214.

69 Komissarzhevsky, ‘Mei Lan-fan i ego kniga’, p. 10; Komissarzhevsky, ‘Pamiati Mei Lan-fana’, p. 216.

70 Komissarzhevsky, ‘Mei Lan-fan i ego kniga’, p. 11; Komissarzhevsky, ‘Pamiati Mei Lan-fana’, p. 217.

71 Komissarzhevsky, Moscow Theatres, p. 40.

72 About Meyerhold's view of the conventionality of Mei Lanfang's art and traditional Chinese theatre see Tian, Mei Lanfang and the Twentieth-Century International Stage, pp. 143–60.

73 Zavadsky, Yuri A., Uchitelya i ucheniki (Teachers and Students) (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1975), p. 114Google Scholar, emphasis in original.

74 N. K. Cherkasov, Zapiski Sovetckogo aktera (Notes of a Soviet Actor), ed. Е. М. Kuznetsov (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1953), p. 361.

75 S. Obraztsov, Teatr Kitayskogo naroda (Theatre of the Chinese People) (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1957), p. 87.

76 Ibid., p. 236.

77 Ibid., p. 246.

78 A. N. Anastas′ev, V sovremennom teatre (In Contemporary Theatre) (Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1961), p. 329.

79 Ibid., p. 334.

80 It is interesting to note that in 1928, because of his illness, Stanislavsky did not see the kabuki performances offered by Ichikawa Sadanji II and his troupe in Moscow. In a telegraph and later in a meeting with Sadanji, Stanislavsky expressed to the Japanese actor his deep regret that he was unable to attend Sadanji's performance of Japan's ‘authentic’ and ‘traditional’ kabuki, although he had read a lot about it and later saw the Western-influenced dances by Hanako and Sada Yacco, the two Japanese actresses who toured Russia at the turn of the twentieth century. Ōkuma Toshio, ed., Ichikawa Sadanji kabuki kikō (Records of the Tour of Ichikawa Sadanji's Kabuki Troupe) (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 1929), pp. 440, 444.

81 For a more detailed study of the Chinese reception of Stanislavsky's theory and the latter's impact on the Chinese theoretical construction and practice of traditional Chinese theatre and, in particular, on Mei Lanfang's understanding and practice of traditional Chinese theatre see Min Tian, The Poetics of Difference and Displacement: Twentieth-Century Chinese–Western Intercultural Theatre (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2008), pp. 159–73.

82 Han, Tian, ‘Huaju yishu jiankang fazhan wansui’ (Long Live the Healthy Development of Spoken Drama), Xiju bao (Theatre Gazette), 3 (1956), pp. 47Google Scholar, here p. 4.

83 Mei, ‘Huiyi Sitannisilafusiji he Niemiluoweiqi-Danqinke’, p. 204.

84 Ibid.

85 A search of Stanislavsky's ‘appraisal’ in the Chinese full-text database, ‘China Academic Journals’, did not find any article published in China from 1965 through 1975.

86 For an examination of the impact of Brecht's interpretation of Mei Lanfang's art on the Chinese views of traditional Chinese theatre see Tian, The Poetics of Difference and Displacement, pp. 175–91.