Drama, play, chinese, literature, director, playwright, writing, journey to the west, the romance of the three kingdoms, dream of red mansions, the art of war, the dao, daoisim, wu song, lin chong, lu zhi shen, sun wu kong, the outlaws of the marsh, mao zedong, sha wu jing, guan yu, liu bei, cao cao


Aristotle stated in his Poetics that theatre’s dual purpose was to educate and entertain. Centuries later the Roman Horace and Indian Bharata echoed his same sentiments. I intend to realize all three theorist’s ideas on the theatre by creating an original educational and entertaining work and bringing it to performance. The audience will retain information without being aware of learning if it is presented in a pleasurable way. The most important geopolitical relationship of this century will be between China and America. In order to educate the American public about the culture of The Middle Kingdom, I propose to write and direct my own play, condensing all three thousand years of Chinese literature into a one hundred and ten minute performance. I will benefit from the personal nature of this thesis by experiencing every stage of a play’s production: from idea to page to performance. My thesis will be made of three major parts: conceiving and writing the play, a journal of directing the debut production, and a third section made of choices, influences, and reflection on the entire experience. In this manner, the ideas swirling in my head may be made clear to others reading this thesis. The play itself will be a comical distillation of ten selected works of Chinese literature. Four non-gender specific American actors will seem to make up the show as it performs in a tongue-in-cheek way. Taking my stated goal of entertaining and educating the audience to heart, the overarching plot of the play will center on the four actors teaching the audience about the literature and culture of China by acting out scenes and telling stories. The information in the scenes will be targeted to a normal American citizen’s educational level with liberal doses of humor added. The four actors will be playing fictionalized versions of themselves and at times iv breaking character by explaining and setting up the theatricality of the piece to the audience. Part of the fun of the show will be seeing how these actors explain a subject as obtuse as Chinese literature to Americans. Perhaps a cooking metaphor is the best way to think of the play: I will chop up raw Chinese literature, the actors will boil it onstage, the theatregoer will consume the mix, and exit the theatre full of entertaining intellectual nourishment. My experiences directing and producing the finished play will be recorded in a journal as a resource for future directors. I imagine directing the play will be the most challenging aspect of this thesis. How is the play changed when other people interact with it? How will the audience receive it? In addition, Committee Chair Mark Routhier and my thesis Committee Members, Mark Brotherton and Tan Huaixiang, will also give written responses to the play’s performances. The play will be performed October 10-13, 2013 in the University of Central Florida’s Performing Arts Complex Studio 2 classroom. In the final section I will write a reflection on the entire process. This will serve the dual purpose of giving me a place to collect my thoughts and giving others a special insight to the growth they might experience when producing this play. Foremost among my influences in writing a play with this subject matter are the style and tone of The Reduced Shakespeare Company


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Graduation Date





Routhier, Mark


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program









Release Date


Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Arts and Humanities -- Dissertations, Academic, Dissertations, Academic -- Arts and Humanities