Thorpe, Ashley

Dr. Ashley Thorpe is a Lecturer in Theatre in the Department of Film, Theater & Television at the University of Reading. He earned his Ph.D. from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Role of the Chou (
2007 0-7734-5303-2
This is the first Western language book to examine the chou (“clown”) role-type in traditional Chinese drama — a role-type credited with so much importance that some critics insist that “without the chou, there would not be drama.” This assertion is evaluated through an analysis of historical documents and translated play texts, fieldwork research, and from the perspectives of ethnomusicology and anthropology. The resulting analysis of the role-type, considered across different eras of history and modes of performance, teases out the central joking mechanisms employed by the chou role in a variety of social contexts. The performance of comedy as a part of exorcistic festivals and funeral rituals is investigated, while also examines the function of the chou in providing moral teaching. This book contains 1 black and white photograph and 11 color photographs.