Meng Jinghui is China's leading avant-garde theater director. His latest work, Murder in the Hanging Garden, is a musical — his first — and it addresses "the relentless grabbing for material goods and people's spiritual loss." Louisa Lim/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Louisa Lim/NPR

Solo-performance pioneer Anna Deavere Smith set the standard for documentary theater in the 1990s; she's reached broader audiences with roles on TV's The West Wing and Nurse Jackie, and in films including Rachel Getting Married. Mary Ellen Mark hide caption

itoggle caption Mary Ellen Mark

Modern jousters often adopt the names and colors of actual Renaissance knights. Ripper Moore, a 14-year veteran of the circuit, jousts as Sir Henry Clifford, Second Earl of Cumberland, and wears his coat of arms. Courtesy Jacki Lyden hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy Jacki Lyden