I don’t usually write about my students because this is a private blog and I am thoughtful about how I affiliate others with my opinions and commentary here. Typically litigious American.
There’s an exception to every rule. This week my students performed a speaking activity where they write and perform their own soap operas. The performances were what I expected but the plots and stories were nothing short of shocking. Amidst the ever-present happy family scenario was drug and human trafficking, homosexuality, infidelity in marriage, sex and gender roles, political and police corruption, polygamy, incest, and domestic violence. Often enough, the students also dramatized the heartbreaking costs a culture pays when pressured by “modernization.” Amazing.
These kids and their performances were small but substantial proof that there is more to China than meets the public eye. In what some might criticize harshly as a closed, oppressive environment, there is evidence of nothing but the contrary.
It also goes to show that, given the right environment, tools and privilege, even the most disruptive and disturbing taboos can be presented and discussed in this vast, magical mystery tour of a superpower. Art (through theatre) can be a socially accepted platform to address the topics that would strain and stress any large country in great transition.
My review: bravo.
Education can be so cool.