Two Plays by Kuo Pao Kun: Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral & The Spirits Play
Kuo Pao Kun (1939-2002) was born in Hebei, China. He came to Singapore in 1949, and he was educated in both Chinese and English. Kuo’s formal theatre training was undertaken in Australia. He returned from that country to Singapore in 1965 and dedicated his life to the development of theatre, the arts and culture in the city-state. Kuo was a playwright, director, teacher, cultural thinker and one of the most influential figures in Singapore’s arts and cultural circles. He was awarded the Cultural Medallion (Drama) in Singapore in 1990, and the Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knighthood of Arts and Letters) by the French government in 1996.
This volume brings together two of Kuo Pao Kun’s later plays. These plays represent part of a new phase in his creative work, one that is characterised by an epic engagement with history. In Descendants of the Eunuch Admiral (1995) and The Spirits Play (1998), Kuo examines the vagaries of history to protest and resist the spiritual and cultural castration of the individual by harsh political regimes and the oppressive grand vision. At the same time, the plays also work at transcending specific historical realities in order to foster a deeply resonant but also discomfiting response in his audience, one that Kuo hoped would lead them to traverse comfortable boundaries so as to reach other states of perception.
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