Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
5:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Fromm Hall 120 - Xavier Auditorium
Event Type
Events and Lectures
Elbers, Krysten Cogswell
Center for Pacific Rim

Shadow Woman: The Extraordinary Career of Pauline Benton

A Talk by Grant Hayter-Menzies, Author

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 5:00-6:30 p.m. | Fromm Hall, Xavier Room

In 1920s Beijing, Kansas-born Pauline Benton (1898-1974) discovered shadow theatre (piyingxi), a performance art where translucent painted puppets are manipulated by highly trained masters to cast coloured shadows against an illuminated screen. Mastering the male-dominated art form in China, Benton believed she could save this thousand-year-old forerunner of motion pictures by taking it to America. Enchanting audiences eager for the exotic during the Great Depression, Pauline’s touring company, Red Gate Shadow Theatre, was lauded by theatre and art critics alike and even played the White House of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Grant Hayter-Menzies traces Benton's performance history and her efforts to preserve shadow theatre as a global cultural treasure by drawing on her unpublished writings, the recollections of her colleagues, the testimonies of shadow masters who survived China's Cultural Revolution, as well as young innovators who have carried on Benton's pioneering work.

 FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  For information please call 415.422.6357. 

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