Item is an amateur recording of a lecture/performance in the main hall of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden by Dr. Jan Walls on the subject of humorous Chinese folk storytelling. The general theme of the lecture was drawing parallels between the low class ‘vulgar’ folk stories and the high class classicism of the gardens, with emphases on the themes of surprise, perspective, exaggeration and distortion of size and time, and the distinction between fantasy and reality. For each short story he presents it (or a piece of it) in Mandarin first, and then presents a translation in English, often with the accompaniment of kuai ban, traditional bamboo clapping instruments.
The stories presented include a story about a man who lives a whole lifetime in a year, a giant woman with even more giant shoes, a country bumpkin at a birthday celebration, illustrations of beggar storyteller themes, and a ‘dummy’ paying a new year’s visit to his in-laws. Following the lecture there is a question period which covers subjects of self-deprecation, storytelling beggars, poetic elements (e.g. metaphor, rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration), and personal questions about Dr. Walls own experiences. The lecture is bookended with an introduction and thanks by [Nilene Yaas], the education coordinator of the garden.