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Revolution in the theatre in the People's Republic of China Judd, Ellen Ruth 1973

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c THE REVOLUTION IN THE THEATRE IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA by ELLEN RUTH JUDD B.A., Queen's U n i v e r s i t y , 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of Anthropology and S o c i o l o g y We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the r e q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA J u l y , 1973 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make It freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada i Abstract This thesis examines the p o l i t i c a l transformation of the theatre i n the People's Republic of China. Some back-ground to t h i s transformation i s provided in a b r i e f survey of the development of the t r a d i t i o n a l Chinese theatre and of changes that occurred during the twentieth century. The developments in the Red areas before 1949 are given p a r t i c u l a r a ttention. The great increase in t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y i n the 1950's is described and attention is given to i t s p o l i t i c a l aspects. P o l i t i c a l problems in the theatre became important in the e a r l y 1960's and these are examined in Chapter 4, with p a r t i c u l a r attention to the case of Wu Han's Peking opera, Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e . The denunciation of the "black l i n e " i n the theatre during the C u l t u r a l Revolu-t i o n i s discussed in the same chapter. The pos i t i v e response to these p o l i t i c a l problems i s discussed in the following two chapters. Chapter 5 examines the revolution in Peking opera and gives p a r t i c u l a r attention to the model revolu-tionary Peking operas on contemporary themes. Chapter 6 discusses the recent developments in creating new forms of theatre suitable for taking t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t i e s to a l l the Chinese people and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , in ensuring that they reach the most remote settlements in the country. In the conclusion, the developments i n the theatre are b r i e f l y put into the context of o v e r a l l developments in Chinese society. i i Research was lim i t e d to reading translations of plays and of Chinese a r t i c l e s , i n addition of what other material i s available in English. What i s shown i n t h i s thesis i s that the Chinese theatre has undergone a fundamental p o l i t i c a l transformation— a revolution. In content and in form, a new type of theatre i s emerging in China that is designed to serve the people of China and e s p e c i a l l y the workers, peasants, and s o l d i e r s . Problems remain i n the theatre, e s p e c i a l l y in the a r t i s t i c area, but experimentation and development are continuing on the new p o l i t i c a l basis established in the Cu l t u r a l Revolution. i i i Table of Contents Page Chapter 1 Introduction 1 The T r a d i t i o n a l Theatre 7 Chapter 2 The Chinese Theatre, 1900-1949 15 Chapter 3 Revival and Reform 30 Chapter 4 The Black Line and the Cultural Revolution 42 Chapter 5 Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes . . 67 Chapter 6 A Theatre For The workers. Peasants and Soldiers 92 Chapter 7 Conclusion 100 Bibliography 107 i v Acknowledgemen t I am g r a t e f u l to the members of my committee. Professors William E. willmott, Graham Johnson, and Helga Jacobson, for t h e i r assistance, encouragement, and h e l p f u l c r i t i c i s m . Ma Sen kindly discussed the Chinese theatre with me and c l a r i f i e d many issues in Chapter 3. Joanne P r i n d i v i l l e read an e a r l i e r paper on the same topic and made a number of he l p f u l suggestions. Carole Farber has been invaluable in providing c r i t i c i s m , advice, and encouragement at every stage during my work on this t h e s i s . 1 Chapter 1 Introduction In the world today a l l culture, a l l l i t e r a -ture and a r t belong to d e f i n i t e classes and are geared to d e f i n i t e p o l i t i c a l l i n e s . There i s i n f a c t no such thing as a r t for art's sake, a r t that stands above classes or a r t that i s detached from or independent of p o l i t i c s . (Mao, 1967b: 25) Chinese revolutionaries have been unusual in t h e i r e x p l i c i t recognition of the p o l i t i c a l importance of l i t e r a -ture and a r t , and i n t h e i r overt p o l i t i c a l use of a wide variety of l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c forms. In response to t h i s , commentators i n the West have written about an incompatibility they see between a r t and p o l i t i c s (for example, Goldman, 1966; Hsia, 1968; Yang, 1969). The Chinese p o s i t i o n on t h i s issue, which i s the same as the one taken i n t h i s thesis, i s that there is no such incompatability. While i t i s possible to discuss the p o l i t i c a l or a r t i s t i c aspects of any work of a r t , the two cannot be r i g i d l y separated or placed in opposi-t i o n : both p o l i t i c s and a r t a r i s e from s p e c i f i c h i s t o r i c a l situations and r e f l e c t those s i t u a t i o n s . They are, therefore, inextricably t i e d together. Western c r i t i c s m of the p o l i t i c a l content of con-temporary Chinese a r t and l i t e r a t u r e i s based on a lack of awareness of the p o l i t i c a l aspects of non-revolutionary and no n - s o c i a l i s t a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . I t is not so much that a r t and l i t e r a t u r e in China have a p a r t i c u l a r l y heavy p o l i t i c a l content, as i t is that they have a p o l i t i c a l content of a 2 d i f f e r e n t nature. The development of Chinese a r t and l i t e r -ature in the twentieth century represents the process of creation of a new s o c i a l i s t form of a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . In th i s t hesis, I w i l l examine this process in one area of a r t and l i t e r a t u r e , the theatre. There, not only the p o l i t i c a l content, but also the a r t i s t i c form i s new. So also are the method of writing plays and the organisation of t h e a t r i c a l performance. The revolution i n l i t e r a t u r e and art, of which the revolution of the theatre i s part, has been given great importance by the Chinese. As ea r l y as the time of the Kiangsi Soviet, i t was a subject of much attention on the part of Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese Communist Party. In 1942, when Mao presented his Talks at the Yenan Forum on  Lit e r a t u r e and Art (Mao, 1967b: 1-43), there were already many years of experience in revolutionary l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c work. In the Talks, Mao summed up that e a r l y experience and l a i d out the p r i n c i p l e s for further work in l i t e r a t u r e and a r t . This document remains the most important work on the subject of contemporary Chinese l i t e r a t u r e and a r t . In i t , Mao stated that l i t e r a t u r e and a r t inevitably play a ro l e i n class struggle. They cannot avoid r e f l e c t i n g and supporting one class p o s i t i o n or another. Mao saw the clas s character of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t as i t s most important and fundamental aspect. Therefore, the major d i s t i n c t i o n he made i n the Talks was that between a r t and l i t e r a t u r e serving 3 semi-feudal, 1 c a p i t a l i s t , and imperalist interests and that serving the masses—the workers, peasants, s o l d i e r s , and urban petty bourgeoisie (Mao, 1967b: 11-12). His p o l i c y has been to promote the l a t t e r and to destroy the former. The goal i s s o c i a l i s t a r t and l i t e r a t u r e , created by peasants, workers, and s o l d i e r s (or by i n t e l l e c t u a l s who are united with them), and intended for t h e i r use (Mao, 1967b: 22). In the f i r s t place, t h i s a r t and l i t e r a t u r e w i l l serve the p o l i t i c a l interests of the masses in t h e i r struggle against semi-feudal, c a p i t a l i s t , and imperalist forces. In the second place, they w i l l provide a r i c h c u l t u r a l l i f e based upon and close to the l i f e experiences of the masses, and therefore more meaningful to them than any other form of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t (Mao, 1967b: 19-20). The period of development of the new a r t and l i t e r a -ture can be divided into two main parts: before 1949 and a f t e r 1949. Before Liberation i n 1949, the main focus i n ar t and l i t e r a t u r e was on contributing to v i c t o r y i n the wars against the Japanese and against the Kuomintang. Art and l i t e r a t u r e were seen as e s s e n t i a l tools in these struggles (Mao, 1967b: 26). Since Liberation, and e s p e c i a l l y since 1953 the chief task has been to bring the ideological super-structure into l i n e with the economic base. The enemies at t h i s time are much the same as b e f o r e — l i n g e r i n g feudal and c a p i t a l i s t tendencies, and imperalism. The difference i s that since Liberation and the transformation of the economic and p o l i t i c a l systems, the main area of struggle has moved 4 to the ideol o g i c a l l e v e l . The Chinese are not complacent about th e i r successes up to thi s point and are c l e a r l y quite worried that i f they f a i l to transform the superstructure, t h e i r v i c t o r i e s on other l e v e l s w i l l be undermined, what happens on the id e o l o g i c a l l e v e l w i l l either f a c i l i t a t e success at the present stage of s o c i a l i s t construction and permit further advance, or cause f a i l u r e i n s o c i a l i s t con-s t r u c t i o n and degeneration into revisionism. As revealed in the Cu l t u r a l Revolution e s p e c i a l l y , the ideol o g i c a l struggle has been very acute. In Mao•s words: "The over thrown bourgeoisie is t r y i n g , by a l l methods, to use the po s i t i o n of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t as a hotbed f o r corrupting the masses and preparing for the restoration of capitalism" (quoted in Li n e t a l . , 1968; 36). The example of the Soviet Union's s l i d e into revisionism or, as the Chinese c a l l i t , "the restoration of capitalism" in the Soviet Union, heightens t h i s concern. The Soviet Union at present i s as much a s t r a t i f i e d class society as any Western c a p i t a l i s t one. The Chinese fear that China also could degenerate i n t h i s d i r e c -t i o n . The v i t a l importance of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t and the presence of bourgeois and r e v i s i o n i s t elements i n those areas has meant that a wide range of measures aimed at reform and control have been necessary. The major source of d i f f i c u l t y has been the bourgeois background of the majority of writers and a r t i s t s . For t h i s reason, i t has been repeatedly 5 necessary to require writers and a r t i s t s to take p o l i t i c a l study courses and to gain some experience of l i f e among the workers, peasants, and s o l d i e r s . As w i l l be shown l a t e r , success in these re-education programs has been li m i t e d . This has meant, on the one hand, that censorship and a va r i e t y of other a f t e r - t h e - f a c t control measures have been necessary. On the other hand, i t has resulted in great e f f o r t s to create a new generation of writers and a r t i s t s who ei t h e r are themselves from worker, peasant, or s o l d i e r backgrounds or at lea s t have some experience of such a nature. However, at present and for some time to come, the older writers and a r t i s t s , predominantly from bourgeois backgrounds, w i l l continue to dominate t h e i r f i e l d s . This makes i t imperative that they be reformed. Otherwise, the areas of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t w i l l be under bourgeois or r e v i s i o n i s t control and, perhaps more seriously, the new generation of writers and a r t i s t s , learning from the older generation, may follow in t h e i r path. At d i f f e r e n t times d i f f e r e n t measures have been taken to reform and control l i t e r a t u r e and a r t . The development of these measures and t h e i r degree of success w i l l be examined in the following chapters. Within the area of l i t e r a t u r e and art , theatre has a p a r t i c u l a r l y important place in China, e s p e c i a l l y i n r e l a t i o n to p o l i t i c a l issues. This i s so for three main reasons. F i r s t , theatre in China has long been a widespread and very popular a r t form. Not li m i t e d just to urban centres 6 and educated persons, i t existed in hundreds of l o c a l variations throughout China, having great popularity among the many mi l l i o n s of peasants (Scott, 1963: 35). The theatre was unique among Chinese a r t forms in this wide popular audience. Quite early, the Communist Party r e a l i s e d the potential of theatre for communicating with and educating the masses of i l l i t e r a t e peasants by way of th e i r favourite a r t form. A second c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of theatre, which proved i t s p o l i t i c a l value most markedly in the Cultural Revolution, i s i t s high degree of v i s i b i l i t y . This enabled i t to provide e f f e c t i v e public examples of what was meant by s o c i a l i s t a r t when the struggle against revisionism in l i t e r a t u r e and a r t became most acute. Of the eight model revolutionary works^ set up as examples i n the C u l t u r a l Revolution, f i v e are Peking operas. The others, two b a l l e t s and a symphony, also represent highly v i s i b l e a r t forms. A t h i r d s i g n i f i c a n t q u a l i t y is theatre's group nature. As a j o i n t a c t i v i t y of a large number of people working together, theatre is p a r t i c u l a r l y suitable for reforms i n work-style, f o r mass involvement, and f o r struggles about p o l i t i c a l content within the creative process i t s e l f . Where success has been achieved i n these areas, the r e s u l t s have been highly v i s i b l e and have been presented p u b l i c l y as examples of what can be produced when problems in these areas are solved. In p a r t i c u l a r , the model Peking operas 7 have been presented as examples of v i c t o r i e s over r e v i s i o n -i s t s in Peking opera companies. As such, they constituted models for struggle and revolution in a l l areas in which the r e v i s i o n i s t s were being attacked i n the C u l t u r a l Revolution. In t h i s t h esis, I w i l l outline the development of a revolutionary and s o c i a l i s t theatre in China and indicate the p a r t i c u l a r l y important r o l e played by the theatre in the c l a s s struggle on the id e o l o g i c a l l e v e l . Before doing that, however, a b r i e f sketch of the previous hi s t o r y of the theatre in China and i t s condition as the modern period began i s necessary. The T r a d i t i o n a l Theatre The theatre, i n a var i e t y of forms, has very deep roots i n China. I t s origins are so long ago that they can-not be dated with any p r e c i s i o n . I t is certa i n that there were entertainments that can be viewed as precursors of the l a t e r theatre as e a r l y as the Chou dynasty (1122-221 B. C.) (Scott, 1956: 28; Arlington, 1930: xxv). At t h i s time, and up u n t i l the T'ang dynasty, what appears to have existed was a mixture of music, dance, and a t h l e t i c displays of variable nature. These were larg e l y associated with f e s t i v a l s and r e l i g i o u s events and seem to have constituted a form of fo l k a r t (Scott, 1956: 28; Arlington, 1930: xxv,8). Beginning in the T'ang dynasty (A. D. 618-906), a high t r a d i t i o n in the theatre emerged under the influence of 8 Imperial i n t e r e s t and patronage. The emperor Ming Huang founded the Pear Garden f o r the t r a i n i n g of theatre a r t i s t s , and t h i s period seems to be the time that a t h e a t r i c a l pro-fession f i r s t emerged (Arlington, 1930: 12-13). As well as patronising the theatre, many members of Imperial families took an active part as amateur performers. While th i s Imperial interest and attention greatly promoted the develop-ment of theatre, i t appears to have done nothing to help the prestige of professionals i n the theatre. Perhaps because of the popular nature of the Chinese theatre, they were u n t i l very recent years regarded as outcasts (Scott, 1956: 28). The Sung dynasty (960-1279) saw a continuation and further development of theatre. There was a variety of professional performers, some serving the masses and some the court. Performers whose ch i e f audiences were the r u r a l and urban masses, were also often c a l l e d upon to entertain o f f i c i a l s . The theatre of the masses and of the rule r s were therefore c l o s e l y connected. By t h i s time, at l e a s t , there were professional playwrights who were members of Book Guilds; some actors may have provided s c r i p t s as w e l l . I t was during the Sung dynasty that dramas, in a form s i m i l a r to that of the clos i n g years of the t r a d i t i o n a l period, f i r s t appeared (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 161-6). Upon the basis l a i d during the T'ang and Sung dynasties, the Yuan dynasty (1234-1368) became the period of ric h e s t development of the t r a d i t i o n a l theatre (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 169; L. W. Snow, 1972a: 4). Partl y t h i s was a natural 9 product of a r t i s t i c development and continued Imperial patronage, however, i t also represented a response to very d i f f e r e n t p o l i t i c a l conditions than had hitherto existed. While the court continued i t s inte r e s t in and support of the theatre (Liu Wu-chi, 1969: 92), the locus of the most important developments lay outside the court and in opposi-t i o n to i t . The Yuan dynasty was a period of foreign (Mongol) r u l e , and a period of considerable misfortune for c l a s s i c a l scholars. Mongol d i s t r u s t of these scholars caused the a b o l i t i o n of the l i t e r a r y examination system during the f i r s t h a l f of the Yuan dynasty, to be restored only in 1314. This destroyed the ambitions of four generations of scholars for o f f i c i a l p o s i tions, unable to b u i l d a career upon t h e i r c l a s s i c a l scholarship, many of them turned to more popular scholarship and wrote plays p r o f e s s i o n a l l y . Previously, playwriting had been done by actors and low-status Book Guild members, but in the Yuan dynasty some of the ablest and best educated scholars turned toward the theatre (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 169). This occurrence at a time when the theatre was already rapi d l y developing and maturing, resulted in the production of a large number of plays of p a r t i c u l a r l y high t h e a t r i c a l and l i t e r a r y value (Liu Wu-chi, 1969: 92). These plays are also notable for t h e i r p o l i t i c a l content. They are c h i e f l y the product of disenchanted gentry writing for a popular audience during a period of oppressive foreign r u l e . I t i s therefore not surprising to fi n d themes of o f f i c i a l corruption and abuse of power and of 10 opposition to t h i s on the part of a few honest o f f i c i a l s or, more frequently, bandits. The bandits were not outlaws t e r r o r i s i n g the masses, but were predominantly s o c i a l bandits, robbing the wealthy and aiding the poor. Much of Yuan drama c l e a r l y represented a protest against unjust and foreign rule which was oppressing the common people. This protest was voiced by the highly educated stratum which, at l e a s t at th i s time, saw i t s interests and those of the masses as the same (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 181-3) . 4 Not a l l Yuan drama was of t h i s nature—some was purely entertainment and some was intended for the court. In w r i t i n g about the Sung and Yuan theatres, L i u Wu-chi (1969: 93) has pointed out that, although the courts sponsored t h e i r own private dramatic troupes and patronised t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t i e s , the court plays lacked l i t e r a r y q uality and have f a i l e d to survive. The r i c h drama of the Yuan period seems to have been based upon an urban commoner public which was supporting a large professional theatre establishment (Liu Wu-chi, 1969: 93). The fusion of popular theatre and the high l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n that produced the c l a s s i c s of the Yuan period broke down during the Ming dynasty. While the popular theatre continued in numerous regional variations, a new form of drama emerged i n the upper c l a s s . K'un-ch'u, i n i t i a l l y formed from a number of other theatre s t y l e s , became d i s t i n c -t i v e for the high q u a l i t y of i t s poetry. L i n Wu-chi (1966: 247) notes that t h i s excellence was achieved at the expense 11 of dramatic q u a l i t y , for i t was mostly a vehicle for the presentation of poetry i n upper-class l i t e r a r y c i r c l e s . Apart from the poetry, they were l i t t l e else than r e v i s i o n s of Yuan dramas. The authors were prominent l i t e r a r y and o f f i c i a l figures rather than theatre professionals. Eventu-a l l y k'un-ch'u became so removed from t h e a t r i c a l r e a l i t i e s and so sophisticated i n a l i t e r a r y sense, that i t was beyond the appreciation of most theatre-goers (Scott, 1959: 3-4; L i u Wu-chi, 1966: 247-53). Its l i t e r a r y q u a l i t y was so high, however, that by 1600 i t was the dominant t h e a t r i c a l s t y l e (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 252). Its lack of t h e a t r i c a l q u a l i t y and i t s distance from the popular theatre, among other causes, contributed to i t s decline in l a t e r years. The destruction of Soochow, the main centre of k'un-ch'u, in 1853 during the T'ai P'ing Rebellion, marked the end of the dominance of k'un-ch'u (Scott, 1959: 3; L i u Wu-chi, 1966: 260). In the late eighteenth century, a new t h e a t r i c a l s t y l e emerged which by the mid-nineteenth century was the dominant s t y l e — c h i n g h s i , or Peking opera. I t was a fusion of k'un-ch'u and a variety of l o c a l operas which had existed alongside i t . I t was developed i n Peking in the 1790*s by several t h e a t r i c a l troupes from Anhwei and therefore owes much to the Anhwei l o c a l opera s t y l e . These troupes were also s k i l l e d in some other l o c a l opera s t y l e s (especially those of the northwest) and in k'un-ch'u. There were no outstanding new plays i n Peking opera—only revisions of older plays and comparatively poor dramatisations of popular 12 ta l e s , h i s t o r i e s , and events of current i n t e r e s t . The Peking opera represented a return of the high t r a d i t i o n in theatre to popular s t y l e s and a popular audience, while s t i l l r eceiving Imperial favour and support. The q u a l i t i e s of Peking opera which made i t so successful were t h e a t r i c a l rather than l i t e r a r y . I t brought t h e a t r i c a l s k i l l s to an unprecedented l e v e l of development due to the contributions of some outstanding actors and s i n g e r s — a s important to Peking opera as great playwrights had been to e a r l i e r t h e a t r i c a l s t y l e s (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 260-1; Scott, 1956: 36-7; Ma, 1956: 4-8). On the eve of the modern period, the theatre in China was composed of Peking opera and over 200 d i f f e r e n t l o c a l genres of opera. A l l of these were popular forms of theatre and theatre was therefore a widely available and much appreciated form of entertainment. 5 From this sketchy overview, at l e a s t two points should be c l e a r . The f i r s t i s that China has a t h e a t r i c a l t r a d i t i o n of unusual richness and h i s t o r i c a l depth. The second i s that the Chinese theatre has consistently been a popular a r t form as well as a cu l t i v a t e d l i t e r a r y medium. Although Western spoken drama has been introduced in China (to be discussed i n the next chapter), the Chinese forms of theatre are by far the most important. This i s p a r t l y because of the i r deep roots, but i t i s also because of the form of Chinese theatre. On a framework of a p l o t and dialogue, they include music, singing, dancing, mime. 13 and acrobatics. In a p o l i t i c a l context—and p o l i t i c s i s a major element of modern Chinese theatre—these elements are very important. They allow for a much more powerful and l a s t i n g impression to be made on an audience than can be achieved by spoken dialogue alone. The spoken words can be r e i t e r a t e d i n song and dramatised in mime and dance, making i t much more l i k e l y that a propaganda message w i l l have an impact and be remembered. The songs can a l s o be performed apart from the r e s t of the opera, spreading the message further and refreshing the memories of those who have seen the operas of which they are part. For these various reasons, the focus of development in the theatre in China has been on indigenous forms, with spoken dramas having much less importance. In l i n e with the usual terminology in English, the Chinese plays w i l l here be referred to as "operas". This name has been given to them because of the large role singing plays in them. They are, needless to say, very d i f f e r e n t from European "operas". 14 Notes l i am using this term i n the sense in which i t i s used by the Chinese, that i s , to r e f e r to t r a d i t i o n a l , non-c a p i t a l i s t elements i n China following intrusion by Western powers and the advent of capitalism i n China. ^These are: the Peking operas, Taking Tiger Mountain  by Strategy, Shachiapang, The Red Lantern, Raid on the White  Tiger Regiment, and On the Docks ; the b a l l e t s . The White" haired G i r l and The Red Detachment of Women; and the symphony, Shachiapang (see Wen, 1967). •*0ne of the most famous Yuan plays (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 178), The Wrongs of Maid Tou by Kuan Han-ch'ing, f a l l s into t h i s category. In revised form, under the t i t l e Snow  in Midsummer (text in Meserve and Meserve, 1970), t h i s play was an example of t r a d i t i o n a l plays considered acceptable a f t e r L i b e r a t i o n . I t i s also interesting to note that one of the most prominent Communist playwrights wrote a play about the writing and performance of The Wrongs of Maid Tou in the face of brutal o f f i c i a l repression (T'ien, 1961). The p o l i t i c a l a c c e p t a b i l i t y of the l a t e r play i s now, however, in doubt in l i g h t of the denunciation of i t s author, T'ien Han, i n the C u l t u r a l Revolution. 4 L i u Wu-chi (1969) demonstrates that t h i s must have been the audience these plays were c h i e f l y aimed a t . The degree to which they may have extended into r u r a l areas is not cl e a r to me. 5 S c h o l a r l y studies of the Chinese theatre have been c h i e f l y concerned with the l i t e r a r y forms and forms appearing in the Imperial court. Despite the lack of det a i l e d informa-t i o n on popular theatre in t r a d i t i o n a l China, there are indications that i t was widespread and important. I t repeat-edly shows up as an important influence on the dominant forms of theatre. The existence of so many d i f f e r e n t v a r i e t i e s throughout China indicate that i t must have had considerable popularity and v i t a l i t y . 6 I am indebted to Carole Parber for drawing my intention to t h i s aspect of Chinese opera. 15 Chapter 2  The Chinese Theatre, 1900-1949 The t r a d i t i o n a l forms of Chinese theatre persisted well into the twentieth century in much the same form as they had had i n the late nineteenth century^- throughout most of China. However, in a few centres, and e s p e c i a l l y in Shanghai, some new trends were emerging that in the follow-ing decades were to penetrate into the most remote regions. One important development was the a r t i s t i c e n r i c h -ment of the t r a d i t i o n a l theatre. This was largely due to research into the c l a s s i c i a l theatre by Ch'i Ju-shan and i t s a p p l i c a t i o n by his colleague, the actor Mei Lan-fang. Their e f f o r t s , and those of other oustanding a r t i s t s , caused considerable improvement in Chinese opera. At l e a s t during the period 1912-19, i t s v i t a l i t y overshadowed the feeble beginnings of a Western s t y l e of theatre in China (Scott, 1963: 38). Without such a dynamic t h e a t r i c a l basis upon which to b u i l d , i t i s d i f f i c u l t to imagine how the l a t e r transformation of the t r a d i t i o n a l theatre could have been so successful. P a r a l l e l with the r e v i t a l i s a t i o n of c l a s s i c Chinese opera, there was a movement to introduce spoken drama i n China. This was not an outgrowth of Chinese theatre, but was rather an importation of Western drama. The f i r s t plays to be performed were translations of Western plays. P a r t i c u l a r l y serious study of Western drama began a f t e r 1919, 16 but by t h i s time Chinese writers were beginning to produce spoken dramas of t h e i r own (Scott, 1963: 36-9). While t h i s Western-influenced trend enriched and broadened the theatre for a lim i t e d audience in such centres as Shanghai, i t did not at th i s time reach a large p u b l i c . Spoken drama was lim i t e d to the c i t i e s and performed there almost ex c l u s i v e l y by amateur groups of students for limited audiences. The i n t e l l e c t u a l s responsible for th i s influence were, in t h e i r enamouration with things foreign, estranged from t h e i r own people (Levenson, 1971: 29-41). I t was not u n t i l the new drama became linked to the n a t i o n a l i s t move-ment, and l a t e r to the revolutionary movement, that i t penetrated to the masses. Even now i t i s not a serious contender for popularity with the Chinese operas. The new modern dramas were oriented towards p o l i t i c s more than were the Peking operas of the time. Their authors were in many cases acutely aware of the s o c i a l problems of the i r time and concerned with commenting on them. They would surely have welcomed a popular audience. The play that contributed most to the establishment of spoken drama in China is a good example of th i s problem. Thunderstorm, by Ts'ao Yu (1958), uses the framework of a domestic tragedy to reveal the corruptness of the Chinese bourgeoisie, the hard l o t of Chinese workers, and the courage of some young union men in f i g h t i n g for t h e i r r i g h t s , written and f i r s t performed in the mid-1930*s, i t received high 17 praise from c r i t i c s , but t h i s , and Ts'ao's other plays, have never been popular among the peasants and workers (Liu Wu-chi, 1966: 276-7). This can be p a r t l y attributed to the very heavy Western influence on Ts'ao's work, making i t strange and unpopular in the eyes of those Chinese who had been less exposed to Western influence than the Shanghai i n t e l l i g e n t s i a . Linking the theatre to popular demands in the twentieth century was to require an e x p l i c i t l y p o l i t i c a l approach and decades of experimentation. Dating from the May Fourth Movement of 1919, there were attempts to use the theatre as a medium for s o c i a l protest (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 8; Meserve and Meserve, 1970: 1). Around 1930, the Shanghai Art Drama Association was formed under the auspices of the League of Left-wing Writers. This association, located in the chief centre of dramatic innovation at the time, Shanghai, made an e f f o r t to present a new form of play that would reach urban workers. Short and simple plays were performed at low cost on a regular schedule by members of a mobile drama troupe which t r a v e l l e d to the workers. The plays were t o p i c a l and propagandistic in content (Ting, 1959: 209). Such e f f o r t s were rare i n those years, e s p e c i a l l y as the government was opposed to them, and arrest was a constant danger for those involved (Scott, 1963: 40). Truly widespread use of the theatre for propaganda and mobilisation began only a f t e r the Japanese invasion. A united front of writers, a r t i s t s , and dramatists joined t o -18 gether in the n a t i o n a l i s t cause. The N a t i o n a l i s t Govern-ment sponsored some t r a v e l l i n g t h e a t r i c a l troupes for these 3 purposes. Private troupes i n the N a t i o n a l i s t areas were also very active, e s p e c i a l l y in tours to perform for workers, peasants, and s o l d i e r s (Scott, 1963: 45-6). However, these a c t i v i t i e s also faced opposition from the N a t i o n a l i s t Govern-ment. When i t launched i t s f i r s t campaign against the Red bases during t h i s period, i t moved to r e s t r i c t drama troupes and anti-Japanese propaganda teams from a c t i v i t i e s in the armed forces, the f a c t o r i e s , and the countryside (Ting, 1959: 66). Repression was i n t e n s i f i e d as the war dragged on and corruption and p o l i t i c a l problems continued in the N a t i o n a l i s t areas, leading to c r i t i c i s m by writers and a r t i s t s . By the s i x t h year of the war, more than f i f t y plays had been banned for being p o l i t i c a l l y unacceptable (Scott, 1963: 7-8). By such repression, the N a t i o n a l i s t Government f o r -f e i t e d any chance of fostering the development of the new trends in theatre that were then emerging. This was in sharp contrast to what was happening in the Red areas. Mao Tse-tung very early recognised the p o t e n t i a l of theatre as a means of mass mobilisation and gave the development of theatre very high p r i o r i t y . As early as 1929, under Mao's leadership, i t was o f f i c i a l p o l i c y in the Red areas to promote the theatre and to do so, e s p e c i a l l y , within the framework of the Red Army propaganda teams. From 1929 on, a r t i s t i c and l i t e r a r y (including t h e a t r i c a l ) a c t i v i t i e s were 19 an e s s e n t i a l part of the Red Army's p o l i t i c a l work. A l -though the Red Army was the centre of such work, e f f o r t s were made to extend i t to the r u r a l masses. (In part t h i s too could be done through the Army.) At lea s t in Kiangsi and Fukien provinces, there were extensive a r t i s t i c and l i t e r a r y a c t i v i t i e s in the r u r a l areas. Worker-peasant dramatic s o c i e t i e s appeared in large numbers in the Red areas, and leaders of them were c a l l e d together for a spe c i a l six-month t r a i n i n g course by the Ministry of Education in order to create a trained core for the worker-peasant drama movement (Ting, 1959: 44-7). There was even a school, the Gorky Drama School, for the t r a i n i n g of professionals in the theatre. I t graduated over 1,000 students who were, in the early t h i r t i e s , organised into over s i x t y touring t h e a t r i c a l troupes performing for peasants i n the r u r a l areas and for s o l d i e r s on the f r o n t l i n e s (Ting, 1959: 47; E. Snow, 1968: 122). Their repertoire was primarily of a propagan-d i s t i c nature and, in p a r t i c u l a r , consisted of material intended to gain the support of the masses in areas newly added to the Red bases and material intended to spread news about the l a t e s t p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y developments. Such a repertoire was one that constantly required new w r i t i n g and r e v i s i o n , and t h i s was mostly done by the troupes' members themselves (Ting, 1959: 245). There were such t r a v e l l i n g troupes, not just in Kiangsi, although i t was the major centre, but also in Honan, Hunan, and Shensi (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 102; E. Snow, 1968; 123). 20 Although much of the work of t h i s theatre movement was to be wiped out by the destruction of the Red bases in the south, i t l e f t a legacy that was to contribute greatly to the foundations of China's new theatre as developed in the Yenan period. F i r s t , i t represented the beginnings of a theatre which was close to the masses. In Ting Yi's words: "The theory that l i t e r a t u r e and a r t should serve the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s was never c l e a r l y put forward; never-theless, t h i s was what was a c t u a l l y being done" (Ting, 1959: 48). I t was a period of experimentation, also, i n how to est a b l i s h and organise such a form of theatre. Second, many of the professionals trained in Kiangsi went on the Long March 4 and on a r r i v a l i n Soviet Shensi were of great importance in developing theatre there during the period of the a n t i -Japanese war (E. Snow, 1968: 122-3). After the a r r i v a l of Mao Tse-tung and the Red forces from the south at the Shensi border region, there was a continuation and an i n t e n s i f i c a t i o n of the e a r l i e r t h e a t r i c a l work. The Lu Hsun Academy of Arts trained t h e a t r i c a l workers from among l o c a l people. 5 Those trained people who had made the Long March were used as instructors (L. W. Snow; 1972a: 107-8; E. Snow, 1968: 123). As in the south i n e a r l i e r years, large numbers of touring t h e a t r i c a l troupes, many of them attached to the Army, were engaged i n p opaganda work throughout the Red areas (E. Snow, 1968: 123; Ting, 1959: 69). 21 There were some problems in the whole area of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t , r e l a t i n g l a r g e l y to the work of the large numbers of bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s who had gone to the Red areas. They were n a t i o n a l i s t s and partners in the united front against the Japanese, and many were also Party members or at l e a s t sympathetic to the Party. How-ever, they were apparently not contributing s a t i s f a c t o r i l y to the n a t i o n a l i s t war e f f o r t . Their reform was part of the r e c t i f i c a t i o n movement that began in 1942 (Hsia, 1968: 240-2). As part of t h i s , writers and a r t i s t s were c a l l e d together for a series of meetings at the Yenan Forum and were there addressed by Mao Tse-tung. At the beginning of his Talks, Mao indicated the great importance he attached to l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c (cultural) work: In our struggle for the l i b e r a t i o n of the Chinese people there are various fronts, among which there are the fronts of the pen and of the gun, the c u l t u r a l and the m i l i t a r y fronts. To defeat the enemy we must r e l y primarily on the army with guns. But t h i s army alone is not enough; we must al s o have a c u l t u r a l army, which is absol-utely indispensable for uniting our own ranks and defeating the enemy. (Mao, 1967b: 1) The s t y l e of warfare, people's war, used by the Chinese Communist Party and i t s armies was heavily dependent on mass support. The purpose of c u l t u r a l work was to serve as one of the major tools for producing t h i s support. This work was not being done well enough because too many of the people doing i t were urban i n t e l l e c t u a l s who did not understand the masses of the people and the conditions under 22 which they were l i v i n g . They were therefore unable to write in a way that was e f f e c t i v e in communicating with the masses. Mao therefore i n s i s t e d on the necessity of remoulding these i n t e l l e c t u a l s and proposed two means of achieving t h i s . The f i r s t was ide o l o g i c a l study: I t is r i g h t for writers and a r t i s t s to study l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c creation, but the science of Marxism-Leninism must be studied by a l l revolutionaries, writers and a r t i s t s not excepted. Writers and a r t i s t s should study society, that is to say, should study the various classes in society, t h e i r mutual re l a t i o n s and respective conditions, t h e i r physiognomy and th e i r psychology. Only when we grasp a l l t h i s c l e a r l y can we have a l i t e r -ature and art that is r i c h in content and correct in orien t a t i o n . (Mao, 1967b: 8) This was to be combined with actual experience of l i f e among the masses: China's revolutionary writers and a r t i s t s , writers and a r t i s t s of promise, must go among the masses; they must for a long period of time unreservedly and wholeheartedly go among the masses of workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s , go into the heat of the struggle, go to the only source, the broadest and r i c h e s t source, in order to observe, experience, study and analyse a l l the d i f f e r e n t kinds of people, a l l the classes, a l l the masses, a l l the v i v i d patterns of l i f e and struggle, a l l the raw materials of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t . Only then can they proceed to creative work. Otherwise, you w i l l have nothing to work with and you w i l l be nothing but a phoney writer or a r t i s t . . . (Mao, 1967b: 19). The writers and a r t i s t s were also directed to pay attention to the l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c work going on at the grassroots l e v e l . In the case of t h e a t r i c a l workers, they were to look at the t h e a t r i c a l troupes in the army and i n the v i l l a g e s (Mao, 1967b: 22-3). 23 When the Talks were g i v e n , the r e c t i f i c a t i o n move-ment was a l r e a d y under way i n l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c c i r c l e s i n Yenan. I t was t o c ontinue f o r the next two years (Hsia, 1968: 244-5). Its success was l i m i t e d , as was t o be demon-s t r a t e d i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n many years l a t e r . Some progress was made, however, as e x e m p l i f i e d by the opera. The W h i t e - h a i r e d G i r l , which was w r i t t e n i n the m i d - f o r t i e s by a group o f w r i t e r s a t the Lu Hsun Academy. Based on a s t o r y c u r r e n t i n the l i b e r a t e d areas a t the time, i t t o l d of a young peasant g i r l whose f a t h e r had been f o r c e d t o s e l l her t o h i s l a n d l o r d . In the l a n d l o r d ' s house, she was c r u e l l y t r e a t e d and raped. E v e n t u a l l y d r i v e n from h i s house, she l i v e d a s o l i t a r y l i f e i n the h i l l s , where she gave b i r t h t o the l a n d l o r d ' s c h i l d and s u f f e r e d such g r e a t h a r d -s h i p s t h a t her h a i r turned w h i t e . At the end o f the p l a y , she i s brought down from the h i l l s by P a r t y cadres a f t e r the a r e a has been l i b e r a t e d . With t h e i r support, she denounces the l a n d l o r d and he i s punished. The p o l i t i c a l c o n t e n t o f the opera was lauded, as i t dramatised the s u f f e r i n g s o f the masses i n the o l d s o c i e t y and showed the way to a s o l u t i o n to t h e i r problems. I t was a l s o exemplary i n i t s a r t i s t i c e x c e l l e n c e and p o p u l a r i t y . I t was based on a popular t a l e r e f l e c t i n g peasant l i f e ; i t used the language o f the peasants; i t s music s t r o n g l y resembled f o l k music; and i t i n c o r p o r a t e d many f e a t u r e s o f the t r a d i t i o n a l operas f a m i l i a r t o the peasants (Ting, 1959: 271-2). 24 At the same time, the old operas were being reviewed. Those that were considered p o l i t i c a l l y unacceptable were r e -s t r i c t e d . Others were reformed (Ting, 1959: 280). While important beginnings were being made i n r e v i s -ing the old operas and wri t i n g new operas, even more s i g n i f i c a n t developments had been taking place in the countryside. On the pattern f i r s t set i n the Red areas in the south in the ea r l y t h i r t i e s , small amateur troupes in v i l l a g e s , touring t h e a t r i c a l troupes, and army t h e a t r i c a l troupes were a l l greatly increased. Throughout the lib e r a t e d areas of the north, innumerable small drama groups sprang up in the v i l l a g e s , which used the t r a d i -t i o n a l t h e a t r i c a l forms to present plays with a r a d i c a l l y new p o l i t i c a l content. Dramatisations of current conditions were the main fare, and of sp e c i a l importance were the plays which appeared to a s s i s t each new p o l i t i c a l development by informing the masses about i t and showing them the planned course of action (Ting, 1959: 247-8, 279). To promote th i s mass t h e a t r i c a l movement, great e f f o r t s were made to t r a i n large numbers of drama workers, and t h i s was one of the main a c t i v i t i e s of the professionals in the lib e r a t e d areas (Ting, 1959: 249). Vi l l a g e s which did not have t h e i r own drama groups were reached by touring troupes of actors, who might be professionals (Ting, 1959: 249) or might be semi-professionals who worked their land part of the year and spent the o f f -season on tour, subsidised by the government (Hinton, 1966: 25 313). Such troupes p r o v i d e d the o n l y c u l t u r a l events many v i l l a g e s would have and were t h e r e f o r e assured a l a r g e 7 audlence. The Red armies maintained l a r g e numbers o f t h e a t r i -c a l workers, both to perform f o r s o l d i e r s and t o secure the support of the masses when moving i n t o new areas. The p l a y s and s k i t s they performed were p r i m a r i l y v e h i c l e s of propaganda: the t o p i c s were such t h i n g s as the n e c e s s i t y of f i g h t i n g the Japanese and the Kuomintang, c o r r e c t i n g one's i d e o l o g y and becoming a good s o l d i e r , army-peasant s o l i d a r i t y and coopera-t i o n , and c e l e b r a t i o n s of m i l i t a r y v i c t o r i e s (Hsiao, 1965: 106-9). By the summer o f 1949, t h e r e were an estimated 25,000 t o 30,000 l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c ( i n c l u d i n g t h e a t r i c a l ) workers a t t a c h e d t o the v a r i o u s Red armies, and more than 20,000 other such workers throughout the l i b e r a t e d areas (Chou E n - l a i , 1950: 27). The importance of these workers, however, exceeds even t h a t suggested by these numbers, f o r they were t o become models f o r the new s o c i a l i s t t h e a t r e t h a t emerged i n the 1960's. These workers were the channel through which l i t e r a t u r e , a r t , and t h e a t r e were taken to the masses i n accordance w i t h Mao's d i r e c t i v e t h a t " a l l our l i t e r a t u r e and a r t are f o r the masses o f the people, and i n the f i r s t p l a c e f o r the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s ; they are c r e a t e d f o r the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s and are f o r t h e i r use" (Mao, 1967b: 22). The numerous troupes were, on the one 26 hand, l i n k e d w i t h s p e c i a l i s t s a t such p l a c e s as the Lu Hsun Academy of A r t s and, on the other hand, they were c l o s e t o the amateur groups i n the v i l l a g e s whom they were i n v o l v e d i n t r a i n i n g . The a b i l i t i e s and e x p e r t i s e of many o f China's b e s t w r i t e r s and a r t i s t s were brought to the masses through t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n these troupes, through t h e use of t h e i r w r i t i n g s by these troupes, and by t r a i n i n g l a r g e numbers of new w r i t e r s and a r t i s t s . I n f l u e n c e d i d not flow i n j u s t one d i r e c t i o n — d e m a n d s from below and experience i n mass work l e d the experts to produce works o f a more popular nature than they had p r e v i o u s l y been w r i t i n g ( f o r example, The W h i t e - h a i r e d G i r l ) . The r e s u l t was a combina-t i o n of p o p u l a r i s i n g the b e s t o f Chinese a r t and l i t e r a t u r e so t h a t i t c o u l d be a p p r e c i a t e d by the masses and, a t the same time, r a i s i n g the standards of popular a r t and l i t e r a -t u r e . In the area o f t h e a t r e , the c o n c r e t e r e s u l t s were performances o f the type r e p o r t e d by W i l l i a m Hinton (1966: 312-6) and Edgar Snow (1968: 119-22). They c o n s i s t e d o f a wide range of d i f f e r e n t e n t e r t a i n m e n t s : s i n g i n g , dancing, s k i t s , and f u l l - l e n g t h operas. The forms were those of the t r a d i t i o n a l entertainments p o p u l a r among the masses, a l b e i t w i t h a few i n n o v a t i o n s . The c o n t e n t s , however, were p o l i t i c a l and p r o p a g a n d i s t i c — i n s p i r i n g l o y a l t y t o the P a r t y and the Red government, g i v i n g news of the l a t e s t p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y developments, d r a m a t i s i n g c u r r e n t 27 changes i n the c o u n t r y s i d e , and so on. There were a l s o p a r t s o f the programs t h a t were p u r e l y , or almost p u r e l y , entertainment. Such performances as these two, which both i n c l u d e d complete operas, were more e l a b o r a t e than much o f what was happening i n the l i b e r a t e d a r e a s . Some o f the troupes, and e s p e c i a l l y those propaganda teams a t t a c h e d t o the armies, c o n c e n t r a t e d more on p r e s e n t i n g s k i t s and one-a c t p l a y s on items o f t o p i c a l i n t e r e s t — l a r g e - s c a l e produc-t i o n s were beyond t h e i r means, as they were c o n s t a n t l y on the move and performing many m i l i t a r y d u t i e s as w e l l (Hsiao, 1965). Not j u s t the p r o d u c t i o n s themselves, but a l s o the op e r a t i o n s of the t h e a t r i c a l troupes were exemplary. Whether l o c a t e d i n s p e c i f i c v i l l a g e s or on t o u r , the a r t i s t s were a model o f r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s and s e l f - r e l i a n c e . I f they were t o keep up w i t h the changing p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n and t o adapt t h e i r work t o s p e c i f i c l o c a l i t i e s , they c o u l d not r e l y on p l a y w r i g h t s elsewhere t o p r o v i d e them w i t h a l l t h e i r s c r i p t s . Much of t h e i r m a t e r i a l , and i n some cases a l l of i t , was p r o v i d e d by members o f each troupe. The troupe members were a t once a c t o r s , p l a y w r i g h t s , producers, d i r e c t o r s , and s t a g e -hands. In a d d i t i o n t o t h i s they p r o v i d e d t h e i r own t r a n s -p o r t a t i o n , looked a f t e r as many o f t h e i r other needs as p o s s i b l e , and even hel p e d others i n t h e i r work whenever p o s s i b l e . Some would support t h e i r f a m i l i e s as peasants p a r t o f the year and perform d u r i n g the w i n t e r . Those who were s o l d i e r s would h e l p w i t h support a c t i v i t i e s and even 28 go into b a t t l e with the units to which they were attached. The object was to take l i t e r a t u r e and a r t everywhere and do so with as l i t t l e drain as possible on the meagre resources of the people who were t h e i r audiences (see E. Snow, 1968: 119-25; Hinton, 1966: 312-6; Hsiao, 1965). 8 Their dedication and resourcefulness in taking l i t e r a t u r e and a r t to the masses is held up as a model for present-day l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c workers. 29 Notes *In the late 1920's i n Ting Hsien, Hopei, Sidney Gamble and his co-workers co l l e c t e d forty-eight plays being performed at that time (Chinese V i l l a g e Plays, 1970). In t h i s country of 454 towns and v i l l a g e s , there were t h i r t y - s i x t h e a t r i c a l troupes providing entertainment for v i l l a g e r s , c h i e f l y at various f e s t i v a l seasons (Chinese V i l l a g e Plays, 1970: x v i i - x x ) . C l e a r l y there was a vigourous popular theatre in existence—and i t was both amateur and professional (Chinese V i l l a g e Plays, 1970: x v i i , x x v i ) . The plays, even at that late date, do not appear to r e f l e c t any of the t h e a t r i c a l or p o l i t i c a l developments of the time. The only way i n which Gamble indicates that they d i f f e r e d from those of preceding decades was in being somewhat coarser (Chinese  V i l l a g e Plays, 1970: x x i i ) . Such plays as were found in t h i s county were apparently t y p i c a l of a l l of northern China, at l e a s t (Chinese V i l l a g e Plays, 1970). ^1 am g r a t e f u l to Ma Sen for pointing out t h i s limited nature of spoken drama. ^Interestingly, i t was T'ien Han who was in charge of the touring Peking opera troupes in the northwest (Scott, 1963: 40). 4The vigour of these performers and the importance attached to t h e i r work is indicated by the fact that even amid the great hardships of the Long March, they gave perfor-mances for s o l d i e r s and c i v i l i a n s in the evenings a f t e r f u l l days of marching (Ting, 1959: 243). 5Chiang Ch'ing, who was to become a figure of major importance in the Cultural Revolution, was at this time di r e c t o r of rehearsals for the t h e a t r i c a l troupe of the Lu Hsun Academy of Arts (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 18). ^A t r a n s l a t i o n of t h i s opera can be found in Meserve and Meserve (1970). A p a r t i c u l a r l y successful opera, i t was awarded the S t a l i n Prize, j o i n t l y with another work, in 1951 (Ting, 1959: 269). Adapted as a b a l l e t , i t is now one of the eight model works. •7 Hinton (1966: 312-6) provides a report of a touring troupe's performance in one North China v i l l a g e that i s p a r t i c u l a r l y informative. 8The work-style of these troupes and t h e i r e f f o r t s to take as l i t t l e as possible from the peasants in the v i l l a g e s they v i s i t e d , constituted a powerful i l l u s t r a t i o n of the character of the Red government. This probably persuaded the peasants of the value of the new order, as much as the performances they saw. 30 Chapter 3  Revival and Reform Liberation presented a new set of problems to workers i n the theatre. The very rapid expansion of the lib e r a t e d areas in the preceding few years required formula-ti o n of a p o l i c y for dealing with the theatre which had existed in the N a t i o n a l i s t areas. Further, the p o l i t i c a l tasks of theatre were somewhat d i f f e r e n t a f t e r p o l i t i c a l c o ntrol of a l l China was achieved. I t was no longer neces-sary to encourage the masses to f i g h t the Japanese and the Kuomintang, or to calm t h e i r fears in the wake of the expan-sion of the Red areas. What was necessary a f t e r Liberation was to create c u l t u r a l supports for the new s o c i a l i s t society. A basis for t h i s was l a i d during the 1950's, although a d i s t i n c t i v e l y new and s o c i a l i s t theatre was to emerge only in the 1960's. The f i r s t problem to be tackled was reviving a theatre that had deteriorated badly. The Japanese had t r i e d to encourage the theatre i n the areas they occupied, but i t did not thrive under th e i r rule, in part because of the r e f u s a l of many renowned a r t i s t s , such as Mei Lan-fang, to perform while t h e i r country was under Japanese rule (Scott, 1956: 38). In the N a t i o n a l i s t areas, too, theatre fared badly. The s o c i a l and economic disruption of the war years had affected the arts as well as other aspects of l i f e . The government had done nothing to help the theatre during 31 th i s time, and i t s fear of theatre generating opposition to i t s r u l e even made i t h o s t i l e to those t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t i e s that were able to continue. For f i n a n c i a l and p o l i t i c a l reasons, many a r t i s t s had to give up t h e i r pro-fessions and fin d other ways to make a l i v i n g . Because of t h i s , many t h e a t r i c a l forms were on the verge of ex t i n c t i o n by 1949 (Folk Arts, 1954; Scott, 1956: 38; Scott, 1963: 49; Kuo, 1960: 129). I n i t i a l l y , the theatre was i n l i t t l e better condi-t i o n in the People's Republic. Although i t was l a t e r to receive great assistance, the f i r s t few years were ones of disorganisation and lack of an o v e r a l l p o l i c y regarding i t s future. The t r a d i t i o n a l theatre was c l e a r l y in disfavour during 1949-53. When Peking was liberated in 1949, f i f t y -f i v e t r a d i t i o n a l operas were banned on grounds of being superstitious, l i c e n t i o u s , or depictions of the degradation of Chinese at the hands of foreigners. In other areas of China, a d d i t i o n a l , or even a l l , t r a d i t i o n a l operas were banned (Scott, 1963: 47-8). While p o l i c y was being formulated i n these early years, the f i r s t developments were already apparent. There was a great increase in t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y throughout the country, taking place with governmental encouragement and assistance. In the countryside, land reform was followed by the appearance of numerous amateur t h e a t r i c a l companies. By 1954, there were more than 100,000 of these (Houn, 1961: 183), and, while the d i s t r i b u t i o n of these groups was undoubtedly somewhat uneven, th i s figure surely represents a great resurgence of t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y at the lowest l e v e l throughout much of the country. Also by 1954, there were about 10,000 amateur t h e a t r i c a l groups in factories i n China ( I b i d . ) . Given the comparatively small s i z e of China's i n d u s t r i a l sector at that time, t h i s represented an accessib-i l i t y to theatre probably comparable to that i n the v i l l a g e s . In addition, there were 2,300 professional opera companies (Houn, 1961: 183). 1 The professional companies had been reviving with the assistance of government subsidies and government schools t r a i n i n g t h e a t r i c a l personnel (Scott, 1963 49) . Another e a r l y development was a series of measures, beginning in 1950, aimed at demonstrating to the performers that they were better o f f in the People's Republic and that they should therefore serve i t a c t i v e l y and w i l l i n g l y . Where as previously opera performers had had very low prestige in China, the new government made great e f f o r t s to raise t h e i r status. They were referred to as " a r t i s t s " and "teachers of the people", and large national f e s t i v a l s were held in which they were given wide public recognition (Houn, 1961: 189-90). Top Party o f f i c i a l s , including Mao Tse-tung and Chou E n - l a i , attended and even spoke personally with the performers (Houn, 1961: 190). Press coverage was extensive and some companies were sent to tour abroad. Some performers were recruited into the prestigious New Democratic Youth Corps and the 33 Communist P a r t y . S i m i l a r measures were taken t o r a i s e the s t a t u s of performers i n spoken drama s h o r t l y l a t e r . Such measures were a p p a r e n t l y q u i t e s u c c e s s f u l i n g e n e r a t i n g g o o d w i l l toward the Party and the government on the p a r t o f many performers (Houn, 1961: 191; Chen, 1959). Some o p p o s i t i o n d i d p e r s i s t , however, as r e v e a l e d d u r i n g the Hundred Flowers p e r i o d . T h i s c r i t i c i s m was not as s e r i o u s an occurrence as the a c t u a l development of a r e v i s i o n i s t t h e a t r e i n the "black l i n e " p e r i o d (to be d i s c u s s e d i n the ne x t c h a p t e r ) . I t i s o f i n t e r e s t , n e v e r t h e l e s s , i n t h a t i t r e v e a l e d some o f the problems t h a t were a r i s i n g d u r i n g the pr o c e s s o f t h e a t r i c a l reform. Some of these were: r e s e n t -ment o f P a r t y c o n t r o l a c t i v i t i e s , a l l e g e d f a v o u r i n g o f p r o -Pa r t y incompetents over a p o l i t i c a l e x p e r t s , a b u r e a u c r a t i c w o r k - s t y l e on the p a r t o f some Pa r t y cadres, l i m i t e d r o y a l t i e s , and e g a l i t a r i a n pay i n state-owned t h e a t r e s (Houn, 1961: 191, 197-8). Upon the b a s i s thus e s t a b l i s h e d both i n terms o f an audience and of a body of t h e a t r e a r t i s t s , the t h e a t r e developed i n s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n s i n the 1950's. There were operas about c u r r e n t p o l i t i c a l developments of a nature s i m i l a r t o those b e f o r e L i b e r a t i o n . There were l a r g e - s c a l e e f f o r t s t o promote and pr e s e r v e a wide range o f d i f f e r e n t t h e a t r i c a l forms, w i t h p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n t o some t h a t seemed t o be on the verge o f d i s a p p e a r i n g . There was a major e f f o r t t o overhaul the o l d opera r e p e r -t o r i e s t o make them s u i t a b l e f o r the new China. There were a l s o e f f o r t s t o w r i t e new operas and new spoken dramas. 34 Continuing with the strongly propagandists purpose of much of pre-Liberation theatre, the early 1950's saw a number of operas and plays on the subject of the improvements brought by Liberation. By t e l l i n g of these improvements, they served to gain support for the government and to spread c e r t a i n reforms further. There was a s p e c i a l category of drama consisting of former participants in out-lawed a c t i v i t i e s , such as p r o s t i t u t i o n , pickpocketing, and gangsterism, themselves performing dramatisations of the end of t h e i r old careers and of how t h e i r new l i v e s were much better (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 10). The theatre was also used to inform the masses about ways i n which they could make use of some of the recent changes. For example. L i t t l e Son-in-Law, which was very widely performed in the early 1950's, showed how a woman was able to end an unhappy arranged marriage and r e -marry according to her wishes, because of the new Marriage Law of 1950 (Folk Arts, 1954: 38-40). There was also much a c t i v i t y with a less d i r e c t p o l i t i c a l purpose in the theatre in these early years. Some of t h i s was connected with preserving old and l o c a l opera forms, e s p e c i a l l y those that were f a l l i n g into disuse. By 1957, more than 51,000 t r a d i t i o n a l operas of numerous types had been discovered, over 14,000 of these transcribed, and more than 4,200 revised (Kuo, 1960: 130-1). There were a l s o e f f o r t s made to keep many v a r i e t i e s of l o c a l opera, shadow theatre, and puppet theatre on the stage as l i v i n g a r t forms (Kuo, I960: 13 2; Chen, 1959; R. Yang, 1969: 62; Scott, 1963: 49; Folk Arts, 1954). Even the old opera s t y l e of k'un-ch'u received government support (Scott, 1959: 5). This large-scale r e v i v a l of disappearing t h e a t r i c a l forms had two main causes. One was a concern with guarantee-ing the continuation of the l o c a l operas which constituted a form of folk a r t . This was considered valuable in i t s e l f (Scott, 1963: 49), and i t was also valued as a means of taking p o l i t i c a l messages to the masses. The second was a determination to preserve the wide range and the h i s t o r i c a l depth of Chinese theatre so that there would be a firm foundation upon which to b u i l d a new form of theatre. This foundation would have to be suited to the emergence of a s o c i a l i s t theatre. A considerable part of the t r a d i t i o n a l repertoire consisted of operas about court l i f e , operas promoting t r a d i t i o n a l values, operas depicting the subjugation of women, operas promoting s u p e r s t i t i o n , and l i c e n t i o u s operas. Such elements were responsible for the disfavour shown to the t r a d i t i o n a l theatre immediately af t e r L i b e r a t i o n . In 1953 (Scott, 1963: 48), a new p o l i c y was implemented giv i n g q u a l i f i e d support to the t r a d i t i o n a l t h e a t r e — i t was to be maintained but also to be reformed. Some operas were considered so objectionable that they were banned or massively revised. Others needed only minor revisions to improve t h e i r p o l i t i c a l content. Not a l l had to present p o s i t i v e p o l i t i c a l messages, but they could not 36 present negative ones (Kuo, 1960: 130,136; Kuo, 1962: 105; Hsieh, 1963). I t was appreciated that much of the t r a d i t i o n a l repertoire consisted of operas that portrayed the hardships of the masses and t h e i r struggles against landlords and o f f i c i a l s . Such operas were given prominence, and the p o l i t i c a l l y acceptable themes in them were emphasised when they were re-written (Hsieh, 1963; Kuo, 1962: 100-104; Kuo, 1960: 128,130). The objective was a transformation of t r a d i t i o n a l theatre in accordance with Mao's 1942 slogan: "weed through the old to l e t the new emerge" (Kuo, 1960: 127). Reform was also undertaken i n the a r t i s t i c and technical areas. The value given the t r a d i t i o n a l theatre meant that improving i t s a r t i s t i c q u a l i t y was emphasised, both through re-writing and through improvement of the acting (Kuo, I960: 131; Scott, 1963: 49). In 1956, The  Fi f t e e n Strings of Cash (Shih Wu Kuan, 1956) was presented as an example of what could be achieved in thi s area. I t had been revised but mostly just shortened for a r t i s t i c reasons (Scott, 1963: 49-50). A r t i s t i c a l l y , , i t i s a p a r t i c -u l a r l y good opera and, p o l i t i c a l l y , i t is at l e a s t acceptable. I t i s the story of two young people who are accused and convicted of a crime they d i d not commit. A zealous junior magistrate makes a c a r e f u l investigation that produces proof of t h e i r innocence, whereupon they are freed. Clearly, such an opera does not provide i n s p i r a t i o n for s o c i a l i s t construc-t i o n , but neither does i t undermine socialism. I t at lea s t 37 portrays some of the in j u s t i c e s of the old society, such as o f f i c i a l incompetence and indifference to the p l i g h t of the masses. A wide range of technical reforms have been made: some were improvements in themselves, and some were changes necessary in order to achieve congruence between form and content. Examples of the former are the removal of the orchestra from the stage and the a b o l i t i o n of some acro-batics which endangered the actors performing them (R. Yang, 1962: 131) . An example of the l a t e r i s the appearance of actresses to play the female role s , which had previously a l l been played by men (Scott, 1963: 51). The reform of t r a d i t i o n a l opera p o l i c y of the 1950's was the outcome of a controversy over the future of t r a d i t i o n a l opera. There was a l e f t l i n e s t a t i n g that t r a d i t i o n a l operas could not be reformed so that they could become suitable for s o c i a l i s t China, and that they therefore should not be performed at a l l . There was a r i g h t line s t a t i n g that the t r a d i t i o n a l theatre should be preserved without change. The actual p o l i c y was a middle l i n e between those two (Kuo, I960: 136-7). The period of emphasis on the reform of t r a d i t i o n a l opera was b r i e f . I t was replaced i n 1958 by a po l i c y des-cribed as "walking on two legs": using both t r a d i t i o n a l and modern theatre but placing an increasing reliance upon the l a t t e r (R. Yang, 1969: 65). Modern theatre had been supported \ 38 i n e a r l i e r years as w e l l , but a f t e r 1958 i t was promoted more s t r o n g l y . I t was not u n t i l the mid-1960's t h a t the new t h e a t r e a c q u i r e d s t r e n g t h and importance. The years p r e c e d -ing t h a t can a l l be c h a r a c t e r i s e d as c o n s t i t u t i n g a p e r i o d o f experimentation p r i o r t o a d e c i s i o n about what course o f development should be taken. There were c o n s i d e r a b l e e f f o r t s t o promote spoken drama. Some o f t h i s took the form of t r a n s l a t i o n s o f Western, e s p e c i a l l y Russian, p l a y s (Levenson, 1971: 6-19; L. W. Snow, 1972a: 10). The w r i t i n g o f new spoken dramas was encouraged, but the r e s u l t s were d i s a p p o i n t i n g . There were numerous one-act p l a y s but r e l a t i v e l y few f u l l - l e n g t h p l a y s , and the a r t i s t i c q u a l i t y was poor. They tended t o be f a i r l y unimagin-a t i v e and u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d p o r t r a y a l s of l i f e i n p o s t -L i b e r a t i o n China. They conveyed a c o r r e c t p o l i t i c a l message but d i d so too p o o r l y t o be of much value (see Houn, 1961: 193-5). Taming the Dragon and the T i g e r (Tuan and Tu, 1961) i s a good example of t h i s problem. I t s theme i s the encourage-ment of d e d i c a t i o n t o the s t r u g g l e t o inc r e a s e p r o d u c t i o n . I t t e l l s the s t o r y of the e f f o r t s o f peasants, cadres, and t e c h n i c i a n s i n one county t o b u i l d a b r i d g e over Dragon R i v e r i n order t o reach the r i c h i r o n ore d e p o s i t s o f T i g e r Mountain. While c h i e f l y l a u d i n g the energy and r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s of the people i n v o l v e d i n t h i s p r o j e c t , i t a l s o touches upon a number of other important i s s u e s : the r e l a t i o n s between the o l d e r and the younger g e n e r a t i o n s , the emancipation o f women, c o r r e c t cadre w o r k - s t y l e , and so on. U n f o r t u n a t e l y , the 39 p l o t and the c h a r a c t e r s seem a r t i f i c i a l , and there i s l i t t l e dramatic t e n s i o n . 2 More important were the new operas being w r i t t e n . Most o f these were h i s t o r i c a l operas, but a few had contempor-ary themes (Kuo, I960: 133-4). Upon the beginnings e s t a b l i s h e d i n the 1950's (and even e a r l i e r i n the l i b e r a t e d a r e a s ) , the c r e a t i o n of operas which used the t r a d i t i o n a l forms to convey contemporary themes was one of the most important developments of the 1960's. Although much of the other experimentation was l a t e r c a s t a s i d e , the work done i n t h i s area paved the way f o r developments of f a r - r e a c h i n g s i g n i f i c a n c e . Chapter 5 w i l l take up t h i s i s s u e . Guaranteeing t h a t the t h e a t r e would f u l f i l l i t s p o l i t i c a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s was a d i f f i c u l t task which con-t i n u e s t o pose problems even now. In the e a r l y p o s t -L i b e r a t i o n p e r i o d a v a r i e t y of c o n t r o l measures were under-taken. These measures f e l l i n t o two main c a t e g o r i e s : s u p e r v i s i o n o f companies and t h e a t r e s , and e d u c a t i o n and r e -e d u c a t i o n o f a c t o r s and p l a y w r i g h t s . The f i r s t c ategory, c o n s i s t i n g o f such t h i n g s as the l i c e n s i n g o f t h e a t r e s and the n a t i o n a l i s a t i o n o f opera companies, c o n s t i t u t e d an e f f o r t t o prevent whatever o p p o s i t i o n t h a t might e x i s t from being v o i c e d . The second category, l a r g e l y p o l i t i c a l e d u c a t i o n , c o n s i s t e d o f e f f o r t s t o persuade the p r o f e s s i o n a l s t o support the People's R e p u b l i c w i l l i n g l y and a c t i v e l y (see Houn, 1961: 183-4; R. Yang, 1962: 137). The appearance 40 of the "black l i n e " in the theatre in the early 1960's indicated that these measures had not been successful and that a s o c i a l i s t theatre did not yet e x i s t in China. 41 Notes ^Unfortunately, I do not have comparable data for other years and therefore cannot indicate rates of growth. I also lack information on d i s t r i b u t i o n of both amateur and professional companies. There are some additional figures, however (Houn, 1961: 182-3). ^There have been a few more successful plays, however; for example, Dragon-Beard Ditch (in Meserve and Meserve, 1970). 42 Chapter 4 The Black Line and the Cultural Revolution I t w i l l take a f a i r l y long time to decide the issue in the ideol o g i c a l struggle between socialism and capitalism in our country. The reason i s that the influence of the bourgeoisie and of the i n t e l l e c t u a l s who come from the old society w i l l remain i n our country for a long time to come, and so w i l l t h e i r class ideology. I f t h i s i s not s u f f i c i e n t l y understood, or is not understood at a l l , the gravest mistakes w i l l be made and the necessity of waging the struggle in the ideol o g i c a l sphere w i l l be ignored. (Mao, quoted in On the Docks, 1969: 4) At l e a s t as early as the Talks at the Yenan Forum  on Li t e r a t u r e and Art, Mao indicated the importance he gave to the problem of the reform of bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s and, at the same time, indicated his r e a l i s a t i o n that such reform would require a long t i m e — e i g h t to ten years (Mao, 1967b: 14). Unfortunately, the problem has proved to be as serious as Mao foresaw and to require an even longer time for i t s s o l u t i o n . The "black l i n e " in the theatre and i n the r e s t of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t i s part of the larger problem of the place of bourgeois i n t e l l e c t u a l s in China's emerging s o c i a l i s t s ociety. Now and for some time to come, the new s o c i a l i s t China w i l l be dependent upon i n t e l l e c t u a l s raised and educated in the old China. Most of these people came from landlord or bourgeois backgrounds and had had a correspondingly non-revolutionary life-experience and education. Large numbers of them had supported and been active in the n a t i o n a l i s t 43 struggle and even i n various progressive or revolutionary a c t i v i t i e s . Many were members of the Communist Party. But despite t h i s commitment, t h e i r backgrounds and world views were so d i f f e r e n t from those of the masses of the people that i t was d i f f i c u l t for them to f u l l y represent and serve the interests of the masses. In the process of revolutionary struggle, some managed to transform themselves, but in many the change was only p a r t i a l . This problem was greatly aggravated by the absorp-t i o n into the People's Republic of very large numbers of i n t e l l e c t u a l s who had not participated in these struggles but who chose to remain a f t e r L i beration. Their commitment to socialism was s l i g h t or even nonexistent. A l l these i n t e l l e c t u a l s were badly needed by China to provide expert knowledge in the process of s o c i a l i s t construction and to educate the next generation of i n t e l l e c t u a l s . Somehow i t was necessary to harness their expertise without allowing the i r n o n - s o c i a l i s t tendencies to interfere with the building of socialism. This problem was p a r t i c u l a r l y severe with respect to the education of the next generation and of the masses in general. There were s t i l l large numbers of people among the masses who retained pre-revolutionary and pre-s o c i a l i s t attitudes and who could be led towards revisionism by such i n t e l l e c t u a l s (Hinton, 1972b: 24-5). The great popularity of theatre, e s p e c i a l l y of Chinese operas, made i t an important medium for the education of the masses for socialism or for revisionism. In the 44 Cultural Revolution, i t was an area of p a r t i c u l a r l y acute c o n f l i c t between the two l i n e s — t h e black l i n e of the r e v i s i o n i s t s and the pr o l e t a r i a n l i n e of Mao Tse-tung and his supporters (Hinton, 1972b: 49). As w i l l be shown l a t e r , the leaders of both l i n e s were consciously try i n g to control the theatre and use i t for th e i r p o l i t i c a l purposes. Not a l l the p o l i t i c a l problems in the theatre were the r e s u l t of such d i r e c t c o n f l i c t , however. Much of the d i f f i c u l t y was due to a f a i l u r e on the part of many people in the theatre to recognise the p o l i t i c a l aspects of t h e a t r i c a l work. By not v i g i l a n t l y working to ensure that the theatre served socialism, they made i t possible for the r e v i s i o n i s t s to take c o n t r o l of much of China's t h e a t r i c a l world. The p o l i t i c a l problems i n the theatre can therefore be divided into two main aspects: (1) the f a i l u r e to continue to make the theatre serve socialism, and (2) the intentional use of the theatre to undermine socialism. These two are not s t r i c t l y separate, but i t i s important to keep the d i s t i n c t i o n between them in mind, for not everyone c r i t i c i s e d in the theatre during the Cul t u r a l Revolution was g u i l t y of intending to destroy socialism. Most, in f a c t , were g u i l t y only of a blindness that allowed the r e v i s i o n i s t s to use them for a n t i - s o c i a l i s t a c t i v i t i e s . The f i r s t problem, at least, was present as early as Li b e r a t i o n . Despite p o l i t i c a l instruction and supervision, there had been backsliding among t h e a t r i c a l workers from as early as 1949. Some who had been dedicated p o l i t i c a l workers during the war years were overcome by the temptations of a return to the c i t i e s and a more regular professional l i f e . They came to put t h e i r professional careers f i r s t and gave l i t t l e attention to p o l i t i c s . Professionalism was even more pronounced among those who had not p a r t i c i p a t e d in the war-time revolutionary theatre but had been absorbed by the new China at the time of Liberation. Many workers in the theatre a f t e r Liberation were thus less concerned with p o l i t i c s than with a r t : now, a f t e r the v i c t o r y of the s o c i a l i s t revolution there are people who regard the theatre, a r t and l i t e r a t u r e not as weapons for carrying on the Chinese revolution and world revolution but as things to amuse and e n t e r t a i n . Obviously t h i s view i s not Marxist-Leninist and runs counter to the orientation of a revolutionary theatre, a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . In a s o c i a l i s t society, i f the theatre, a r t and l i t e r a t u r e are not made to serve the p r o l e t a r i a t , then they cease to be the superstructure of socialism, and w i l l instead degenerate, take the road of r e v i s i o n -ism and become part of the superstructure rendering service to the restoration of capitalism (Ko, 1965: 30). The degeneration of theatre showed i t s e l f in two a r e a s — i n the work-style of theatre a r t i s t s and in the dramas they wrote and performed. I t appears that a f t e r Liberation, careerism among theatre professionals was encouraged and that they became removed from the masses of the people. The e f f o r t s to develop the theatre i n the post-Liberation years were oriented toward in d i v i d u a l rather than c o l l e c t i v e e f f o r t s . The "three-famous" p o l i c y promoted famous writers, d i r e c t o r s , and actors, and 46 the "three-high" p o l i c y provided for high s a l a r i e s , r o y a l t i e s , and awards (Swift, 1969: 118-9). At l e a s t by the e a r l y 1960's, leading a r t i s t s were receiving extremely large s a l a r i e s that were supplemented by the large share they received of the net p r o f i t s of t h e i r companies, these being divided among the actors on the basis of talent (Gigon, 1962: 44, 47-8). Individual success could be best achieved in opera companies in the b i g c i t i e s and, although actual information on t h e i r location i s lacking, t h i s appears to be where they were. In contrast to the preceding period of revolutionary struggle and to the succeeding C u l t u r a l Revolution period, the years from 1949 to the mid-1960's are notable for the lack of mention of professional work among the masses. Although the Chinese publications available to me1 make prominent mention of such work in e a r l i e r and l a t e r years, there i s a curious lack of such material regard-ing the period i n question. Further, the a v a i l a b l e material on such a c t i v i t i e s during the Cultural Revolution period (to be discussed in Chapter 6), indicate that much of the a c t i v i t y taking place then was very recent in o r i g i n . I t therefore appears that professionals in the theatre were becoming removed from the masses. The extent to which the theatre had moved from i t s revolutionary t r a d i t i o n of serving the masses i s indicated by the following passage regarding one opera company in 1961: 47 Last July, the government asked every Chinese to j o i n the f i g h t against famine. Actors, as state employees, were not exempt. The best Peking opera company was given land on the edge of the c i t y , with orders to c u l -t i v a t e i t . The company, however, hired peasants to work the land. At harvest time, the company requested several cars from the government, and a l l the actors went o f f to the f i e l d s to gather i n the fru i t s of the earth. Chairs were brought for the leading actresses. Behind them, youthful pages from the T'ang or Ming dramas opened parasols to s h i e l d them from the sun, and s t i r r e d a breeze with swanfeather fans. (Gigon, 1962: 46) While probably not t y p i c a l , i t shows how far at l e a s t some a r t i s t s were allowed to backslide. The same author reported that there had been a marked decrease in the amount of p o l i t i c a l discussion c a r r i e d on i n opera companies (Gigon, 1962: 46). I t i s against t h i s background that the types of plays being performed must be seen. The prominence given the r e v i v a l of t r a d i t i o n a l operas no doubt suited the actors who were predominantly trained for t h i s type of theatre. Apparently many actors strongly resisted plays on contemporary themes, even going so far as to sabotage those that were staged by bad casting and poor performances (Kaplan, 1964: 635). Despite the supposed increasing reliance upon new plays in the "two legs" p o l i c y , in 1960-62 t r a d i t i o n a l operas dominated repertoires throughout China (Kaplan, 1964: 634). 2 The emphasis in the 1950's upon promoting t r a d i t i o n a l operas and translations of foreign works was c r i t i c i s e d in the C u l t u r a l Revolution. I t was then asserted that making feudal, bourgeois, and r e v i s i o n i s t l i t e r a t u r e and a r t (and 48 theatre) more r e a d i l y available to the masses did not t r u l y constitute serving the masses. Rather, i t represented hand-ing over the areas of l i t e r a t u r e and art to counter-revolutionary forces (Shanghai Writing Group for Revolu-tionary Mass C r i t i c i s m , 1971). In addition to c r i t i c i s m of the import of foreign works, foreign methods in the theatre were c r i t i c i s e d . In the 195O's, Stanislavsky's methods were heavily r e l i e d upon in t r a i n i n g actors for spoken drama (Scott, 1963: 51). This approach was denounced as being e g o i s t i c and unconcerned with class struggle or any other p o l i t i c a l issue. I t was declared an importation of Soviet revisionism which would lead to s i m i l a r revisionism i n China (Shanghai Revolutionary Mass C r i t i c i s m Writing Group, 1969). Actors using the Stanislavsky method were probably not doing so with any a n t i -s o c i a l i s t p o l i t i c a l intention, but by l e t t i n g i t divert them from the c l a s s struggle, they were making a serious p o l i t i c a l e r r o r . Writers, including playwrights, were s i m i l a r l y moving away from p o l i t i c a l and toward personal topics. They showed an unwillingness to r e s t r i c t themselves to subject-matter of a p o l i t i c a l nature and, when writing on p o l i t i c a l topics, a tendency to c r i t i c i s e the new s o c i a l i s t society. These were c l e a r l y dangerous trends and were c r i t i c i s e d as such i n the Cultural Revolution (Lin et a l . , 1968: 23-5). 49 From the above, i t is apparent that, even without a t t r i b u t i n g intentional a n t i - s o c i a l i s t attitudes or a c t i v i t i e s to theatre workers, the theatre in China had moved far from i t s revolutionary t r a d i t i o n and was not adequately serving socialism. I t i s therefore not su r p r i s i n g that, as w i l l be shown below, the theatre did harbour some people who were using i t for a n t i - s o c i a l i s t purposes. Their numbers were probably few, but at lea s t some of them were i n powerful positions, and they were supported by many theatre workers who were not aware of t h e i r own backsliding or of the p o l i t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e of the i r work. An exhaustive treatment of the use of the theatre by those following the black l i n e is not possible here, but the f a c t that i t was being so used can be established by examining two of the cases that were given p a r t i c u l a r prominence i n the Cultural Revolution—those of Wu Han and T'ien Han. Wu Han's Peking opera, Hai J u i Dismissed From Office (Wu, 1961), was the most important play of the period leading up to the Cul t u r a l Revolution, for i t was c r i t i c i s m of th i s p lay that launched the Great Proletarian C u l t u r a l Revolution. Hai J u i Dismissed From Office i s the story of a Ming o f f i c i a l , Hai J u i , who was an honest and just o f f i c i a l , a l b e i t a l o y a l servant of the emperor and the established order. Peasants appealed to Hai J u i for ju s t i c e because they were being deprived of t h e i r land and ter r o r i s e d in various ways by the family of a very powerful l o c a l landlord and former o f f i c i a l 50 and by a l o c a l o f f i c i a l under h i s i n f l u e n c e . Hai J u i took measures t o r e t u r n t h e i r land and punish the l o c a l t y r a n t s . For t h i s he was worshipped as a s a v i o u r by the people, but d i s m i s s e d from o f f i c e due to the i n f l u e n c e o f the powerful f a m i l y he had i n j u r e d . Taken out of cont e x t , t h i s might be seen as merely a t a l e o f the s u f f e r i n g s o f the masses under f e u d a l r u l e . I t c o u l d be c r i t i c i s e d f o r showing r e l i e f coming from a member o f the r u l i n g c l a s s , r a t h e r than from t h e e f f o r t s o f the masses themselves, and t h e r e f o r e o f i g n o r i n g c l a s s s t r u g g l e . While t h i s i s a s e r i o u s f a i l i n g , i t does not c o n s t i t u t e s u b v e r s i o n , nor does i t i n d i c a t e why t h i s p l a y was c r i t i c i s e d so s e v e r e l y d u r i n g the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n . An e x p l a n a t i o n o f t h i s p l a y ' s s i g n i f i c a n c e i s t o be found i n Wu Han's p e r s o n a l h i s t o r y and i n the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l c o n t e x t i n which i t appeared. Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e was both p u b l i s h e d and presented on the stage i n Peking i n 1961. D i s r u p t i o n a r i s i n g from d i f f i c u l t i e s d u r i n g the Great Leap Forward s t i l l e x i s t e d . S u c c e s s i v e years o f n a t u r a l d i s a s t e r s r e s u l t i n g i n bad h a r v e s t s had c r e a t e d u n r e s t . Out o f these problems, there had a r i s e n c o n s i d e r a b l e c o n t r o v e r s y , r e a c h i n g t o the h i g h e s t government and P a r t y l e v e l s , about what was the c o r r e c t p o l i c y t o f o l l o w . I t was i n t h i s c o n t e x t t h a t Hai J u i D i s - missed From O f f i c e appeared, w i t h i t s messages o f " r e t u r n the land t o the peasants" and "oppose bad persons i n power". At t h i s time, the opera c o u l d r e a d i l y be seen as a c r i t i c i s m of the commune movement and as encouragement of the o p p o s i t i o n to i t that was then apparent (Pusey, 1969: 31). Confirma-t i o n of the fact that i t was so interpreted i s found i n i t s removal from the stage aft e r only a few performances, apparently as a r e s u l t of p o l i t i c a l censorship (Pusey, 1969: 36). The play was not c r i t i c i s e d then; i t was merely pro-scribed. That i t was more than fortuitous that an opera with such double meanings should have appeared then can be shown by examining the circumstances surroundings i t s crea-t i o n , in p a r t i c u l a r the p o s i t i o n and history of i t s author. Wu Han was a non-Communist univer s i t y professor and public o f f i c i a l (Ansley, 1968: v i - v i i ) . As a h i s t o r i a n and s o c i a l s c i e n t i s t , he had been a member of China's i n t e l l e c t u a l community i n the Kuomintang areas before Liberation and had been active in c r i t i c i s i n g the Kuomintang. His method was that of "attacking the present through the past", that i s , writing of some h i s t o r i c a l event i n such a way as to c r i t i c i s e something in the present. He was apparently very s k i l l f u l with t h i s technique (Pusey, 1969). After Liberation, he remained in China and continued his professional career, a career that included a post at the prestigious Tsinghua University. He never became a member of the Communist Party, but instead rose to high p o s i t i o n i n the China Democratic League, a minor p o l i t i c a l party (Ansley, 1968: v i - v i i ) . He held a number of public positions, including the honorary post of vice-mayor of Peking. This position was probably given to him as a representative of the non-Communist 52 academic community (Ansley, 1968: v i - v i i ; Pusey, 1969: 57) . Wu was almost t o t a l l y s i l e n t for the ten years following Liberation, but in 1959 he suddenly began produc-ing an incredible number of a r t i c l e s . Between 1959 and 1961, he published 100-200 a r t i c l e s , one Peking opera, and four c o l l e c t i o n s of previous a r t i c l e s . A f i f t h volume appeared in 1962 or 1963 (Pusey, 1969: 44). There i s a clear continu-i t y between the content and s t y l e of Wu's writing at t h i s time and before Liberation. At both times, he was being c r i t i c a l of the e x i s t i n g government and using the t a c t i c of "attacking the present through the past" (Pusey, 1969: 68). On 19 June 1959, Wu Han published an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Hai J u i Upbraids the Emperor" in Jen Min J i h Pao under a pseudonym. This was a discussion of Hai Jui bravely c r i t i c i s i n g an unjust emperor. On 14 July, Minister of Defense P'eng Teh-huai wrote a l e t t e r to Mao, c r i t i c i s i n g the Great Leap Forward and some of Mao's other p o l i c i e s . Whether or not Wu Han knew of this coming event, i t is certa i n that t h i s a r t i c l e was r e f e r r i n g to the considerable discontent caused by the Great Leap Forward and was intended to encourage opposition to i t . The connection i s made more apparent by Wu's beginning to work on Hai J u i Dismissed From  Office almost immediately a f t e r the Lushan Conference in August 1959, at which P'eng and his supporters were defeated by Mao and h i s supporters and P'eng was dismissed from o f f i c e (Ansley, 1968: 119-21). There are also indications 53 t h a t Hai J u i was b e i n g used by others as w e l l as a symbol f o r the o p p o s i t i o n t o the Great Leap Forward (Pusey, 1969: 17-20; Ansley, 1968: 153). 3 A f t e r Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e was withdrawn from the stage, Wu continued t o p u b l i s h a r t i c l e s w i t h double meanings (Pusey, 1969: 37-48). Some of h i s work a t t h i s time was done w i t h Teng T'o and L i a o Mo-sha, the t h r e e j o i n t l y producing a column p u b l i s h e d i n F r o n t l i n e e n t i t l e d "Notes From Three-Family V i l l a g e " . Together w i t h "Evening Chats a t Yenshan", another column appearing i n F r o n t l i n e and i n Jen Min J i h Pao and w r i t t e n s e p a r a t e l y by Teng T'o, these a r t i c l e s c o n s t i t u t e d a c o n c e r t e d a t t a c k on the c u r r e n t p o l i c y o f Mao and the P a r t y (Pusey, 1969: 44; Ansley, 1968: 1 2 2 ) . 4 When the p o l i t i c a l c l i m a t e changed i n 1962 t o make the p u b l i c a t i o n of such a r t i c l e s dangerous, the s e r i e s "Evening Chats a t Yenshan" concluded w i t h an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Of the T h i r t y -s i x Strategems, t o Depart i s B e s t " . Wu's w r i t i n g s came t o an abrupt s t o p a t the same time (Pusey, 1969: 4 5 ) . What was p a r t i c u l a r l y s e r i o u s about t h i s group of w r i t i n g s was the p o l i t i c a l p o s i t i o n o f the people r e s p o n s i b l e . Teng T'o and L i a o Mo-sha were members of the Peking Party Committee and Teng T'o was i t s s e c r e t a r y . Teng T'o was a l s o a t d i f f e r e n t times e d i t o r - i n - c h i e f o f both F r o n t l i n e and Jen Min J i h Pao, both o f which were organs o f the Peking P a r t y Committee (Ansley, 1968: 133, 161; Pusey, 1969: 44-5; Yao, 1966: 29). Standing behind these people was P'eng Chen, the f i r s t s e c r e t a r y o f the Peking P a r t y Committee, the mayor o f 54 Peking, member of the CCP C e n t r a l Committee, and the e i g h t h -r a n k i n g person i n the P a r t y (Ansley, 1968: 129; Hinton, 1972a: 35; Pusey, 1969: 43). He was one o f the most prominent persons t o f a l l i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n . Most o f those who were d i s m i s s e d d u r i n g the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n were Party and government o f f i c i a l s i n Peking (Ansley, 1968: 125), and i t appears t h a t there had been a concert e d a t t a c k upon Mao's l e a d e r s h i p and p o l i c i e s on the p a r t o f the Peking P a r t y Committee, one o f the most powerful ones i n the co u n t r y . The o b j e c t appears t o have been a r e t u r n o f P'eng Teh-huai and the a d o p t i o n o f the r e v i s i o n i s t p o l i c i e s advocated by him (Hinton, 1972b: 35). Wu Han was not h i m s e l f an important p o l i t i c a l f i g u r e , but h i s connections w i t h powerful persons (connections which were probably made by way of h i s v i c e -mayorship) gave h i s w r i t i n g s a p o l i t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e t h a t they would not otherwise have had. I t was pr o b a b l y through such c o n t a c t s t h a t Wu knew when i t was s a f e t o w r i t e h i s a r t i c l e s and when he should stop; i t was c e r t a i n l y such p e o p l e who made i t p o s s i b l e f o r h i s a r t i c l e s t o appear i n such w i d e l y c i r c u l a t e d papers as Jen Min J i h Pao; and, as w i l l be shown below, when he came under a t t a c k i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n , they made some e f f o r t s t o p r o t e c t him. One p o i n t remains t o be made about H a i J u i Dismissed  From O f f i c e . T h i s concerns the q u e s t i o n of how i t was t h a t Wu Han, an academic who had never b e f o r e w r i t t e n drama, came to w r i t e a Peking opera on t h i s p a r t i c u l a r t o p i c . In the p r e f a c e t o the opera, Wu Han s t a t e d t h a t t h i s had not been 55 h i s i d e a , b u t r a t h e r had been suggested t o him by some d r a m a t i s t f r i e n d s . He s a i d t h a t they knew t h a t he had w r i t t e n some a r t i c l e s on Hai J u i and thought t h a t he should w r i t e an opera about Hai J u i as w e l l . They ad v i s e d and h e l p e d him through seven r e v i s i o n s d u r i n g the year i n which the opera was w r i t t e n (Wu, 1961: 1-2). 5 T h i s i n d i c a t e s t h a t t h e r e were persons i n the t h e a t r e concerned w i t h u s i n g the t h e a t r e i n t e n t i o n a l l y t o promote the b l a c k l i n e . H ai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e was not an i s o l a t e d c a se. There were a number o f such works, and t h a t they had support i n o f f i c i a l c i r c l e s i s i n d i c a t e d by the f a c t t h a t they r e c e i v e d good reviews i n the o f f i c i a l p r e s s , were p u b l i s h e d i n l e a d i n g magazines, and were performed by p u b l i c l y f i n a n c e d drama troupes (Hinton, 1972b: 36). One o f these were Hsieh Yao-huan by T ' i e n Han. I t i s the s t o r y o f a c o u r t lady of the T'ang dynasty who, along w i t h the empress she served, s t o o d up f o r the i n t e r e s t s of the people i n o p p o s i t i o n to powerful f a m i l i e s . She advocated the r e t u r n o f l a n d t o the p e a s a n t r y and d i e d as a martyr f o r the masses (Goldman, 1966: 140; " C r i t i c i s m " , 1966: 4 9-50). 6 T h i s p l a y was g u i l t y o f e s s e n t i a l l y the same s o r t o f double meanings as was Hai J u i  Dismissed From O f f i c e (Goldman, 1966: 141). T ' i e n Han was a more prominent person than Wu Han. He was noted as an e a r l y p r o g r e s s i v e i n the t h e a t r e i n p r e -L i b e r a t i o n days. He c o n t r i b u t e d a g r e a t d e a l t o the e a r l y development of the modern Chinese t h e a t r e , through e x p e r i -mentation w i t h new a c t i n g and p r o d u c t i o n methods. He has 56 w r i t t e n numerous p l a y s , b u t they have been a l e s s important c o n t r i b u t i o n . He d i d not go t o the Red areas b e f o r e L i b e r a -t i o n , b u t remained i n the Kuomintang areas d u r i n g the war a g a i n s t the Japanese and h e l d a h i g h p o s i t i o n i n the C u l t u r a l and Propaganda Department o f the Kuomintang government. A f t e r the Japanese d e f e a t he went t o Hong Kong and r e t u r n e d t o China o n l y i n 1948 (S c o t t , 1963: 40-1). He, as w e l l as Wu Han, was one o f the many i n t e l l e c t u a l s absorbed by the People's R e p u b l i c a f t e r L i b e r a t i o n , who were not P a r t y or pro - P a r t y p e o p l e b e f o r e then. T ' i e n , however, d i d subsequently become a P a r t y member and a t the time o f the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n was s e c r e t a r y o f the P a r t y group o f the Union o f Chinese Stage A r t i s t s (Goldman, 1966: 140), although he may have been onl y a f i g u r e - h e a d ( S c o t t , 1963: 40). I t appears t h a t T ' i e n , a l i f e t i m e p r o f e s s i o n a l i n the t h e a t r e , had c o n s i s t e n t l y from a t l e a s t 1950, pursued a p o l i c y of f a v o u r i n g e x p e r t i s e over p o l i t i c a l commitment. He had a l l e g e d t h a t t h e a t r e workers were not w e l l t r e a t e d d e s p i t e the g r e a t improvement f o r them since L i b e r a t i o n and had opposed p o l i t i c a l t r a i n i n g f o r young a c t o r s . T ' i e n was opposing the P a r t y and promoting i n d i v i d u a l c a r e e r i s m (Shih Yen-sheng, 1966). T ' i e n , as w e l l as Wu, had powerful c o n n e c t i o n s — h e was a c l o s e a s s o c i a t e of Chou Yang (Goldman, 1966: 140), another f i g u r e t o f a l l i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n . ' The i n c r e a s i n g power o f r e v i s i o n i s m , i n the t h e a t r e as w e l l as elsewhere, had not escaped the n o t i c e o f Mao and o f some oth e r people. As soon as the economic s i t u a t i o n 57 improved in the e a r l y 1960's, a movement to combat r e v i s i o n -ism began. The f i r s t action appears to have taken place at the Tenth Plenary Session of the Eighth CCP Central Committee in 1962. The communique i t issued emphasised the importance of continuing the class struggle and warned against "various opportunist i d e o l o g i c a l tendencies in the Party" (exerpt i n The Great C u l t u r a l , 1968: 9). Literature and a r t were i d e n t i f i e d as areas where there were p a r t i c u l a r problems. In December 1963, Mao issued a strongly worded statement on problems in l i t e r a t u r e and a r t , with s p e c i a l mention of the theatre: Problems abound in a l l forms of a r t such as the drama, ballads, music, the fine a r t s , the dance, the cinema, poetry and l i t e r -ature, and the people involved are numerous; in many departments very l i t t l e has been achieved so far in s o c i a l i s t transformation. The "dead" s t i l l dominate in many departments. What has been achieved i n the cinema, new poetry, folk songs, the fine arts and the novel should not be underestimated, but there too, quite a few problems e x i s t . As for such departments as the drama, the problems are even more serious. The s o c i a l and economic base has changed, but the arts as part of the super-structure, which serve the base, s t i l l remain a serious problem. Hence we should proceed with investigation and study and attend to t h i s matter in earnest. Isn't i t absurd that many Communists are enthusiastic about promoting feudal and c a p i t a l -i s t a r t , but not s o c i a l i s t art? (Mao, 1967a: 10-11) This was followed i n June 1964 by a strong statement c r i t i c i s -ing the leadership of the national mass organisations in l i t e r a t u r e and a r t , accusing them of s l i d i n g "right down to the brink of revisionism" (Mao, 1967a: 11). These clear 58 c a l l s f o r reform went unheeded except f o r a r e c t i f i c a t i o n o f the F e d e r a t i o n o f L i t e r a t u r e and A r t C i r c l e s i n l a t e 1964. When s t r o n g e r a c t i o n was taken, i t was d i r e c t e d , not a t b a c k s l i d e r s i n g e n e r a l , but a t persons who had c l e a r l y been u s i n g l i t e r a t u r e and a r t as p o l i t i c a l t o o l s f o r the o p p o s i t i o n . The f i r s t p u b l i c event o f the C u l t u r a l Revolu-t i o n , b eginning i n l a t e 1965, was c r i t i c i s m of Hai J u i D i s - missed From O f f i c e . T h i s should not be i n t e r p r e t e d as i n d i c a t i n g a g r e a t and p a r t i c u l a r importance f o r t h i s one p l a y , c o n s i d e r e d i n i s o l a t i o n . Rather, Hai J u i Dismissed  From O f f i c e was b e i n g presented as a symbol o f r e v i s i o n i s m i n a r t and l i t e r a t u r e and o f the powerful persons i n v o l v e d . The c r i t i c i s m s a p p l i e d t o i t were v e r y q u i c k l y extended both t o o t h e r work i n l i t e r a t u r e and a r t and t o the people s t a n d -i n g behind such work. Even i n the v e r y f i r s t p u b l i c c r i t i c i s m (Yao, 1965), these broader i m p l i c a t i o n s were i n d i c a t e d . In November 1965, the c r i t i c i s m o f H a i J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e was launched i n Shanghai. Mao was undoubtedly i n v o l v e d , and he may even have been i n Shanghai a t t h a t time. He had disappeared from p u b l i c view s h o r t l y a f t e r c a l l i n g f o r p a new wave o f c r i t i c i s m of c o u n t e r - r e v o l u t i o n a r y i d e o l o g y a t a meeting of the c e n t r a l l e a d e r s h i p o f the Party, i n September and October. There has been s p e c u l a t i o n t h a t he may have planned the opening stage o f the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n i n Shanghai d u r i n g the s i l e n t months from November 1965 to May 1966 (Ansley, 1968: 125). In any case, i t was on 10 November 59 1965 t h a t Wen-yi Pao, a Shanghai paper, p r i n t e d an a r t i c l e by Yao Wen-yuan and Chiang C h ' i n g 9 which denounced Hai J u i  Dismissed From O f f i c e as a b i g poisonous weed undermining s o c i a l i s m . The a r t i c l e ended w i t h a statement t h a t i t s c r i t i c i s m s o f Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e had broader a p p l i c a b i l i t y and t h a t p u b l i c debate should take p l a c e con-c e r n i n g t h i s opera because i t r e p r e s e n t e d widespread f a i l i n g s i n l i t e r a t u r e and a r t : We c o n s i d e r t h a t The D i s m i s s a l o f Hai Jui^° i s not a f r a g r a n t flower, but a poisonous weed. Although i t was p u b l i s h e d and staged s e v e r a l years ago, th e r e was a whole s e r i e s of a r t i c l e s i n p r a i s e o f i t , and s i m i l a r works and a r t i c l e s were disseminated i n l a r g e q u a n t i t i e s . The e f f e c t has been s e r i o u s and the p o i s o n has flowed over a wide a r e a . I f i t i s not e l i m i n a t e d , i t w i l l g r a v e l y undermine the people's cause. T h i s p l a y should t h e r e -f o r e be d i s c u s s e d . In such d i s c u s s i o n s , i f only we base o u r s e l v e s on the viewpoint o f c l a s s a n a l y s i s , we s u r e l y can l e a r n a p r o -found l e s s o n from the r e a l i s t i c and h i s t o r i c a l c l a s s s t r u g g l e . (Yao, 1965: 40-1) Attempts were made t o prevent t h i s a r t i c l e from b e i n g r e p r i n t e d i n Peking. However, i t d i d appear there i n the L i b e r a t i o n Army D a i l y (Hinton, 1972b: 55), and l a t e r i n Jen Min J i h Pao. I t appeared i n the l a t t e r paper o n l y on 29 November. T h i s l e n g t h y d e l a y was one o f the a c t i o n s of t h i s paper which was l a t e r t o be c r i t i c i s e d . When Jen Min J i h Pao f i n a l l y p u b l i s h e d Yao's a r t i c l e , i t d i d so w i t h an i n v i t a t i o n f o r readers t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n a p u b l i c debate i n the pages o f t h a t paper concerning the i s s u e s r a i s e d by the a r t i c l e . I t p r i n t e d 118 of the responses t o t h i s i n v i t a t i o n . At the beg i n n i n g , i t p r i n t e d s e v e r a l a r t i c l e s e i t h e r defending Wu 60 o r p u t t i n g the whole matter i n an academic c o n t e x t . The l a t e r a c c u s a t i o n s t h a t Jen Min J i h Pao t r i e d t o s t i f l e and t o d i v e r t c r i t i c i s m o f Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e appears t o have been q u i t e a c c u r a t e (Ansley, 1968: 128; Pusey, 1969: 49-53). A p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g document appearing i n the pages o f Jen Min J i h Pao was Wu Han's s e l f - c r i t i c i s m (Wu, 1965), p r i n t e d a t the end o f December 1965. A very l a r g e p a r t of t h i s lengthy document i s taken up w i t h an academic, h i s t o r i c a l d i s c u s s i o n o f Hai J u i and o f the h i s t o r i -c a l accuracy o f Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e . T h i s can e a s i l y be i n t e r p r e t e d as an attempt t o put the opera i n an academic, r a t h e r than a p o l i t i c a l , c o n t e x t . T h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s confirmed by the e f f o r t s Wu made throughout h i s s e l f - c r i t i c i s m t o p r e s e n t h i m s e l f as a wayward academic whose i d e o l o g i c a l c o n f u s i o n had l e d him u n i n t e n t i o n a l l y to w r i t e a p o l i t i c a l l y harmful opera. He a s s e r t e d t h a t he had w r i t t e n the h i s t o r i -c a l opera p u r e l y f o r l i t e r a r y reasons and w i t h no idea t h a t i t might have any contemporary s i g n i f i c a n c e . T h i s was i n d i r e c t c o n t r a d i c t i o n to what he had w r i t t e n i n the p r e f a c e to the opera (Wu, 1961: 1-19). On the s u r f a c e , the s e l f -c r i t i c i s m was an admission o f s e r i o u s e r r o r , b u t the f a u l t s Wu admitted t o (academic) were not the same as the ones o f which he was accused ( p o l i t i c a l ) . The s e l f - c r i t i c i s m t h e r e -f o r e appears to have been an escape manoeuvre r a t h e r than a s i n c e r e admission of wrong-doing. But even as an escape manoeuvre, i t l a c k e d s i n c e r i t y , f o r some o f the passages were 61 so unbelievable as to be ludicrous. For example, in one passage he claimed never to have t r i e d to find out why his opera was removed from the stage, a statement which is very d i f f i c u l t to believe. He produces a feeble excuse and ends the paragraph with the following words: ....ray attitude has been highly irrespons-i b l e to contemporary p o l i t i c s , as well as to the party and the cause of the people. I should never, and can never, use any pretext to absolve myself of t h i s respons-i b i l i t y and mistake. (Wu, 1965: 102) I t i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that Wu could have intended his s e l f - c r i t i c i s m to be taken at face value at a l l . That he should have thus made a mockery of his s e l f - c r i t i c i s m indicates that he must have f e l t protected by powerful persons. This was, indeed, the case. Aside from the support indicated by the actions of such major papers as Jen Min J i h  Pao, t h i s was shown most conclusively by the "Outline Report" This was written by P'eng Chen and a number of other senior Party leaders and approved by the CCP Central Committee in February 1966. Although claiming adherence to the Cultural Revolution ("waving the red f l a g to oppose the red f l a g " ) , t h i s report a c t u a l l y constituted an e f f o r t to obscure the p o l i t i c a l issues involved and to r e s t r i c t c r i t i c i s m of Hai  Ju i Dismissed From Office to the academic sphere. I t also t r i e d to r e s t r a i n the c r i t i c i s m from spreading to other persons. The a r t i c l e s in Jen Min J i h Pao tapered o f f a f t e r the i n i t i a l onslaught, but there was a resurgence i n A p r i l and May of 1966 (Pusey, 1969: 52-5). 1 2 In May, two events 62 oc c u r r e d t h a t moved p u b l i c c r i t i c i s m d i r e c t l y from Wu Han to the powerful persons behind him. The f i r s t o f these was Yao Wen-yuan's a r t i c l e , "On 'Three-Family V i l l a g e ' : The R e a c t i o n a r y Nature of Evening Chats a t Yenshan and Notes From Three-Family V i l l a g e " (Yao, 1966), which was f i r s t p r i n t e d i n two Shanghai papers on 10 May 1966. R e f e r r i n g t o the t h r e e authors as Three-Family V i l l a g e , Yao made the f o l l o w i n g a c c u s a t i o n : Evening Chats a t Yenshan and Notes From  Three-Family v i l l a g e came on the stage c l o s e on the h e e l s o f H a i J u i Dismissed  From O f f i c e . They formed a d e l i b e r a t e , planned and o r g a n i s e d major a t t a c k on the P a r t y and s o c i a l i s m , master-minded i n d e t a i l by Three-Family V i l l a g e . (Yao, 1966: 33) Although not made p u b l i c u n t i l a year l a t e r , on 16 May 1966, P a r t y l e a d e r s r e c e i v e d a c i r c u l a r from the CCP C e n t r a l Committee ( t r a n s l a t e d i n The Great Power, 1969: 429-36) which r e p u d i a t e d the " O u t l i n e Report" and denounced P'eng Chen as b e i n g r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i t . The second p u b l i c event took p l a c e on 25 May 1966, when s e v e r a l people a t Peking U n i v e r s i t y put up a b i g -c h a r a c t e r p o s t e r c r i t i c i s i n g Lu P'ing, P r e s i d e n t of Peking U n i v e r s i t y and s e c r e t a r y of i t s Party committee, f o r t r y i n g t o r e s t r i c t d i s c u s s i o n o f Hai J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e t o the academic sphere. T h i s p o s t e r d i r e c t l y a t t a c k e d a powerful P a r t y person (Lu) and accused him o f being a r e v i s i o n i s t . On 2 June, the contents o f the p o s t e r were p u b l i s h e d i n Jen  Min J i h Pao and b r o a d c a s t n a t i o n a l l y on Peking Radio, l e a d i n g 63 to a great upheaval on campuses and elsewhere (Hinton, 1972a: 18-19; Hinton, 1972b: 56). As the C u l t u r a l Revolution continued in one d i r e c -t i o n to become a struggle for power at the highest Party l e v e l s , i t also continued i n another d i r e c t i o n as c r i t i c i s m and weeding out of revisionism in the theatre and in other areas of the superstructure. There was much to be c r i t i c i s e d and weeded out: from Liberation up u n t i l the eve of the C u l t u r a l Revolution, the theatre had been mainly under the d i r e c t i o n of those who were denounced i n the Cultural Revolu-t i o n (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 6). One of the people to be so denounced was T'ien Han, in December of 1966 (Swift, 1969: 119). His play Hsieh Yao-huan was, together with Hai J u i Dismissed From Office and L i 13 Hui-niang, one of the three most c r i t i c i s e d plays of the C u l t u r a l Revolution period. A l l were h i s t o r i c a l plays shar-ing several important f a u l t s : eulogising class-transcendental virtues (in v i o l a t i o n of the method of class a n a l y s i s ) , drawing p a r a l l e l s between the l i f e of the masses under feudal ru l e and t h e i r l i f e in the People's Republic, eulogising heroes who were not from the masses but who supposedly repre-sented them, and advocating the return of land to the people ("Criticism", 1966: 50). These works and others were heavily c r i t i c i s e d in major papers, and the masses of workers, pea-sants, and s o l d i e r s were encouraged to j o i n i n the c r i t i c i s m . This was seen as an important means of destroying t h e i r bad influence (Yao, 1966: 66-8). 64 However, a s i d e from the c r i t i c i s m o f Hai J u i D i s - missed From O f f i c e , the most important developments r e g a r d i n g the t h e a t r e i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n were i n the c r e a t i o n of p o l i t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e work r a t h e r than i n the d e n u n c i a t i o n of unacceptable work. T h i s , too, was not j u s t a spontaneous development. There was conscious d i r e c t i o n o f the d e s i r e d t r e n d and i n t e n t i o n a l c r e a t i o n o f a p o l i t i c a l base i n the t h e a t r e . T h i s a c t i v i t y was c e n t r e d upon the development of Peking operas on contemporary themes. 65 Notes xThese a r e : Chinese L i t e r a t u r e , China R e c o n s t r u c t s , Peking Review, and t r a n s l a t i o n s i n E x t r a c t s from China Main- lan d Magazines and S e l e c t i o n s from China Mainland Magazines (from such magazines as Hung-ch'i and Wen-yi Pao). ^This source does not i n d i c a t e whether these were r e v i s e d t r a d i t i o n a l operas, i n t o t a l or i n p a r t . Given the g r e a t a c t i v i t y i n the 1950's i n r e v i s i n g t r a d i t i o n a l operas, I expect t h a t a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n of these were r e v i s e d . ^There was another p l a y about Hai J u i which appeared b e f o r e Wu Han's p l a y : H a i J u i ' s Memorial t o the Throne. T h i s was a c o l l e c t i v e c r e a t i o n o f the Shanghai Peking Opera I n s t i t u t e . I t and i t s c r e a t o r s were a l s o c r i t i c i s e d d u r i n g the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n ( " C r i t i c i s m " , 1966: 49; S w i f t , 1969: 118). 4 " E v e n i n g Chats a t Yenshan" began i n March 1961 and ended a t the time o f the Tenth P l e n a r y Session o f the E i g h t h CCP C e n t r a l Committee i n 1962. "Notes From Three-Family V i l l a g e " began i n October 1961 and ended i n 1964 (Ansley, 1968: 122-3). 5The troupe t h a t performed Hai J u i Dismissed From  O f f i c e was the Peking Opera Company a t Peking. I am not c e r t a i n , b ut I t h i n k t h a t t h i s i s one o f the most prominent troupes i n the c o u n t r y . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t i t i s t h i s same troupe t h a t i s c r e d i t e d w i t h the f i n a l r e v i s i o n o f Shachiapang i n 1970. ^1 am here r e l y i n g upon b r i e f d e s c r i p t i o n s i n the sources c i t e d . As f a r as I know, the o n l y " b i g poisonous weed" i n the t h e a t r e i n E n g l i s h t r a n s l a t i o n i s Hai J u i D i s - missed From O f f i c e . A l s o , i t i s o n l y w i t h r e s p e c t t o Hai  J u i Dismissed From O f f i c e , that a s i z e a b l e body of the c r i t i c i s m t h a t appeared i n the Chinese p r e s s has been t r a n s l a t e d i n t o E n g l i s h . I do not know the dates of w r i t i n g , performance, or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s p l a y . 7Goldman (1966), however, suggests t h a t Chou Yang may not have been a r e v i s i o n i s t , t h a t he was u n j u s t l y used as a scapegoat. 8 T h i s i n c l u d e d s p e c i f i c mention o f Wu Han ("16 May 1966 C i r c u l a r " i n The Great Power, 1969: 429). 66 yChiang Ch'ing's name did not appear on the a r t i c l e at the time, but she has since been credited with helping to write i t (Hinton, 1972b: 55). Chiang Ch'ing had e a r l i e r (July 1962) c r i t i c i s e d t h i s play in a l e t t e r sent to Hsia Yen, an important o f f i c i a l in l i t e r a r y and a r t i s t i c c i r c l e s . Her l e t t e r was ignored (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 19). 1 0 T h i s is an alternative t r a n s l a t i o n of the t i t l e of Wu Han's opera. 1 1The f u l l t i t l e of t h i s document i s "Outline Report Concerning the Current Academic Discussion of the Group-of-Five in Charge of the C u l t u r a l Revolution" (translated in The Great Power, 1969: 436-440). 12p U Sey (1969: 52-5) analyses the differences in the a r t i c l e s printed at d i f f e r e n t times on t h i s t o p i c during the s i x months from November 1965 to May 1966 and makes some interesting comments on the changes in p o l i t i c a l climate that these s h i f t s apparently r e f l e c t e d . 1 3Unfortunately, t h i s play has been so over-shadowed by the other two, that I know almost nothing about i t . 67 Chapter 5  Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes During the C u l t u r a l Revolution, a symphony, two b a l l e t s , and f i v e Peking operas were presented as "the eight model revolutionary works." Together, these works constituted examples of what the Cultural-Revolution forces considered s o c i a l i s t a r t and l i t e r a t u r e to be (Wen, 1967: 100). The symphony and the b a l l e t are imported, foreign a r t forms. The Peking opera before the Cultural Revolution was a highly s t y l i s e d , elaborate a r t form which seems unsuited for contempoi?-ary themes. The choice of these areas for the model works was an intentional s e l e c t i o n of the most d i f f i c u l t areas of a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . In showing that they could successfully embody contemporary revolutionary themes, the importance and the p o s s i b i l i t y of carrying out such a transformation in a l l areas of a r t and l i t e r a t u r e was dramatically demonstrated. Furthermore, a l l three of these a r t forms were p a r t i c u l a r l y suited for public presentation. An exemplary novel, poem, or song could not have made the same impact as any of the three chosen a r t forms. As large-scale produc-tions presented for audiences of hundreds or thousands, they were v i v i d and powerful vehicles for the presentation of the new model for a r t and l i t e r a t u r e . Their group nature was also an advantage, for i t made i t possible for a struggle over the correct path in l i t e r a t u r e and a r t to take place during the actual processes of creation of the model works. When presented to the public, they could then also be 68 presented as examples of the reform of a r t i s t s and a r t i s t i c organisations, and they were prominently used as such examples. Here, only the five model Peking operas w i l l be discussed. They are probably the most important model works because they set the pattern for the theatre, a p a r t i c u l a r l y important a r t form i n China, and because they represent the reform of a Chinese, rather than of a foreign, a r t form. There had been experiments in creating Peking operas on contemporary themes long before the Cul t u r a l Revolution, for as early as the 1910*s Mei Lan-fang experi-mented with t h i s (D. Yang, 1968: 228-9). However, such e f f o r t s were unusual before the Yenan period, when, with the support of the Red government, there were considerable e f f o r t s to create new operas on contemporary themes within the established Chinese opera s t y l e s . These e f f o r t s con-tinued, and continued to receive some o f f i c i a l support, in the early years of the People's Republic (D. Yang, 1968: 187). I t i s not cl e a r whether any of these were Peking operas. However, i t i s c e r t a i n that Peking operas on contemporary themes were being performed by 1958. As part of the new emphasis, beginning in that year, on creating new works rather than just r e v i s i n g old ones, there was a f e s t i v a l of operas on contemporary themes that included the presentation of several Peking operas (D. Yang, 1968: 187-8). 69 The most notable of these was The White-haired  G i r l , an adaptation of the award-winning opera of the Yenan years. I t was quite s i m i l a r to the e a r l i e r opera. When premiered i n 1958, the leading roles were played by top actors, and the cast as a whole was p a r t i c u l a r l y good. The opera was well received and considered a success (D. Yang, 1968: 188-90). The fact that an already very successful opera was chosen for adaptation and that top actors were chosen for i t indicates that t h i s opera was being treated as a t e s t case and that i t s success was something of a break through. The White-haired G i r l has s ince been used to lead the way in another area as w e l l — i n b a l l e t form, i t i s one of the eight model works. Work on operas on contemporary themes continued a f t e r t h i s , but l i t t l e headway was made for some years. This can be attributed to the problems in the theatre des-cribed in the previous chapter. Beginning in 1963, a con-certed e f f o r t was made to change this s i t u a t i o n . The f i r s t action d i d not take place in the f i e l d of Peking opera, but rather in the f i e l d of spoken drama. I t was, however, important i n leading the way for the development of Peking opera on contemporary themes. This occurrence was the East China Drama F e s t i v a l (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 20). At i t were presented the best of a large number of new spoken dramas which had been written in the l a s t year as part of an organised movement for dramas on contemporary themes (Tung, 1969: 124-5). Some of the ones performed were considered 70 q u i t e s u c c e s s f u l . A l s o a t t h i s f e s t i v a l , t h e r e were speeches by s e v e r a l prominent p e r s o n s — C h i a n g C h ' i n g , Ko C h i n g - s h i h (mayor o f S h a n g h a i ) , and Chou E n - l a i — o n t h e importance o f t h i s new development i n the t h e a t r e (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 2 0 ) . I n the same y e a r , p l a n s were made a t a month-long meeting i n P e k i n g f o r a f e s t i v a l o f P e k i n g opera on contempor-a r y themes f o r t h e n e x t y e a r . I t was i n 1963 t h a t a l a r g e -s c a l e e f f o r t was f i r s t mounted i n t h i s a r e a . I n r e t r o s p e c t , t h e a c t i v i t i e s i n t h e t h e a t r e i n 1963 can be seen as a p r e -l u d e t o t h e C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n , and t h e y have been i d e n t i f i e d as s uch q u i t e p r o m i n e n t l y i n t h e C h i n e s e p r e s s (Tung, 1969: 124) . P a r t o f t h e m o t i v a t i o n f o r P e k i n g o pera on contempor-a r y themes, v o i c e d i n 1963-4, was a d e c l i n i n g a t t e n d a n c e a t P e k i n g operas ( L i C h ' i , 1964: 2 8 ) . There was a f e a r t h a t P e k i n g o p e r a was l o s i n g i t s r e l e v a n c e i n s o c i a l i s t C h i n a and t h a t i f i t was t o s u r v i v e i t must t r a n s f o r m i t s e l f . P e k i n g o pera had become somewhat o u t o f s t e p w i t h the r e s t o f the c u l t u r e . I t was so h i g h l y s t y l i s e d t h a t a c o n s i d e r a b l e amount o f s p e c i a l knowledge was r e q u i r e d i n o r d e r t o be a b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d i t — s p e c i a l p r o n u n c i a t i o n p a t t e r n s , a c t i n g c o n v e n t i o n s , music p a t t e r n s , and so on were a l l dependent on s u c h a u d i e n c e knowledge. Very l a r g e numbers o f young C h i n e s e , grown accustomed t o Western drama and cinema s t y l e s , l a c k e d t h i s knowledge (D. Yang, 1968: 185-6). The c o n t e n t o f t h e o p e r a s — t a l e s o f emperors, c o u r t l a d i e s , and s c h o l a r s i n t r a d i t i o n a l C h i n a — w a s a l s o t h o u g h t t o be c o n t r i b u t i n g t o 71 the decreasing attendance. There were, therefore, non-p o l i t i c a l reasons, although the l a t t e r were more s i g n i f i -cant. I t was the p o l i t i c a l aspect of the problem that determined the timing, the manner, and the p a r t i c u l a r form that the new operas were to take. The 1964 F e s t i v a l of Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes marked the greatest change in theatre in China since L i b e r a t i o n . I t established the pattern for the subsequent far-reaching changes in a l l forms of Chinese opera. Shortly a f t e r t h i s f e s t i v a l , s i m i l a r f e s t i v a l s of various Chinese operas on contemporary themes were held i n a l l regions of the country, and the operas produced at them ra p i d l y spread from the major centres to the smaller c i t i e s and towns ("The Revolutionisation of the Chinese Theatre", 1966: 124). As four of the f i v e model operas were presented at the F e s t i v a l of Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes, and the f i f t h , On the Docks, was presented only shortly l a t e r , this i s a good place to discuss them i n d i v i d u a l l y . 1 The f i r s t successful one was Taking Tiger Mountain  by Strategy (Wen, 1967: 106). I t was also one of the e a r l i e s t ; work on i t began in the Peking Opera Theatre of Shanghai in 1958 (Kuang in Chiang, 1968: 16). As with many of the new operas, i t was adapted from work that had previously been successful on other forms. This opera was based on an episode in a b e s t - s e l l i n g novel, Tracks in the Snowy Forest, which had also served as the story for a f i l m of the same name (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 28-9). In Peking opera form i t was 72 g i v e n a new t i t l e , Taking the B a n d i t s ' Stronghold, which i t r e t a i n e d through s e v e r a l r e v i s i o n s u n t i l the l a t e 1960's when a f u r t h e r r e v i s i o n was renamed Taking T i g e r Mountain by  St r a t e g y . T h i s opera p r e s e n t s the s t o r y o f how a detachment of the People's L i b e r a t i o n Army f r e e d an area o f n o r t h e a s t China from the c o n t r o l o f a b r u t a l b a n d i t l e a d e r working f o r the Kuomintang d u r i n g the War o f L i b e r a t i o n . Helped by the l o c a l people, who a l s o j o i n i n the f i n a l a t t a c k , the PLA men d e v i s e a p l a n f o r c a p t u r i n g the mountain s t r o n g h o l d . Yang Tze-jung, an e x p e r i e n c e d PLA scout, d i s g u i s e s h i m s e l f as a b a n d i t , i n f i l t r a t e s the s t r o n g h o l d , g a i n s the t r u s t of the b a n d i t l e a d e r s , and makes i t p o s s i b l e f o r h i s comrades t o e n t e r and d e f e a t the T i g e r Mountain b a n d i t s . Taking T i g e r Mountain by S t r a t e g y i s a w e l l - c o n s t r u c t e d t a l e o f adventure and heroism. I t has the necessary noble heroes, v i l l a i n o u s enemies, and dramatic moments o f c o n f r o n t a -t i o n . More than t h i s , though, i t i s able t o use t h i s framework to p r e s e n t a v i v i d p i c t u r e of the d e d i c a t i o n of the r e v o l u -t i o n a r i e s o f the War of L i b e r a t i o n and of the b e n e f i t s they brought t o the Chinese people. Shachiapang i s a l s o one of the e a r l i e s t o f the model Peking operas. I t had f i r s t been a Shanghai opera, Sparks  Amid the Reeds, w r i t t e n i n 1959 and f i r s t performed i n 1960. I t underwent t h r e e r e v i s i o n s and was a g r e a t success when re- s t a g e d i n 1964 (D. Yang, 1968: 196). Chiang Ch'ing took t h i s Shanghai opera to the Peking Opera Company o f Peking w i t h a re q u e s t t h a t they c r e a t e a Peking opera on t h i s b a s i s 73 (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 122). With some c o n s i d e r a b l e d i f f i c u l -t i e s , f o r t h i s was the same company t h a t had staged Hai J u i  Dismissed From O f f i c e and some oth e r "poisonous weeds" ("Shachiapang" R e v o l u t i o n a r y F i g h t i n g Regiment o f the No. 1 Peking Opera Company o f Peking, i n Chiang, 1968: 45-6), a Peking opera v e r s i o n was performed s u c c e s s f u l l y a t the F e s t i v a l o f Peking Operas on Contemporary Themes. S h o r t l y a f t e r t h a t , on Mao's su g g e s t i o n , the t i t l e was changed t o Shachiapang (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 122-3). T h i s opera i s s e t i n the v i l l a g e o f Shachiapang d u r i n g the Anti-Japanese War. E i g h t e e n wounded PLA men are r e c u p e r a t i n g t h e r e when i t i s captured by l o c a l b a n d i t s who are i n league w i t h both the Japanese and the Kuomintang. With h e l p from the v i l l a g e r s , the s o l d i e r s take refuge i n the nearby marshes. The enemy knows o f t h e i r presence and searches f o r them. I t i s o n l y due to the support of the v i l l a g e r s t h a t they are p r o t e c t e d and the v i l l a g e i s f i n a l l y l i b e r a t e d . The army p o l i t i c a l i n s t r u c t o r i s a noble and impres-s i v e f i g u r e , and a l l the PLA men c l e a r l y have very good r e l a -t i o n s w i t h the v i l l a g e r s — h e l p i n g out d e s p i t e t h e i r i n j u r i e s and making the l e a s t p o s s i b l e demands upon the v i l l a g e r s . However, i n t h i s opera i t i s the c i v i l i a n s who stand out. P a r t i c u l a r l y impressive i s S i s t e r Ah-ching, an underground Party cadre, whose r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s and courage are t r u l y exemplary. She i s the dominant c h a r a c t e r i n the p l a y . 74 The dramatic excitement of t h i s p l a y appears t o be l e s s than t h a t o f Taking T i g e r Mountain by Strategy, b u t here, too, t h e r e i s an i n t e r e s t i n g s t o r y combined w i t h a r e v o l u t i o n a r y p o l i t i c a l message. The dominant themes are the c o n t r i b u t i o n of the masses t o the war e f f o r t and the e x c e l l e n t r e l a t i o n s between the PLA and the masses t h a t make t h i s p o s s i b l e . T h i s opera i s noted f o r i t s p a r t i c u l a r l y good music, upon which the model r e v o l u t i o n a r y symphony Shachiapang i s based. The Red L a n t e r n i s p o s s i b l y the most popular of the Peking operas on contemporary themes (D. Yang, 1968: 203; L. W. Snow, 1972a: 241). T h i s p l a y , too, was adapted from a Shanghai opera and was premiered a t the F e s t i v a l o f Peking Operas on Contemporary Themes (D. Yang, 1968: 204). The Red L a n t e r n i s another opera on the p e r i o d of the Anti-Japanese War, but t h i s time the focus i s e n t i r e l y upon c i v i l i a n s . The heroes are t h r e e g e n e r a t i o n s of a worker's f a m i l y . The foremost hero, L i Yu-ho, i s a r a i l w a y switchman and P a r t y member working i n the Japanese-occupied a r e a s . The p l o t r e v o l v e s around the d e l i v e r y o f a s e c r e t code t o a nearby g u e r r i l l a u n i t . Under t o r t u r e , one o f L i ' s comrades i d e n t i f i e s L i as the c o u r i e r . L i h i m s e l f d e f i e s the Japanese commander and d i e s r a t h e r than r e v e a l the h i d i n g p l a c e o f the code. His mother b r a v e l y d i e s w i t h him, a l s o r e f u s i n g t o hand i t over. H i s daughter c a r r i e s on the f a m i l y ' s r e v o l u t i o n a r y t r a d i t i o n by e s c a p i n g s u r v e i l l a n c e 75 by the Japanese t o r e t r i e v e the code from i t s h i d i n g p l a c e and d e l i v e r i t t o the g u e r r i l l a s . The p l o t i s developed w e l l and maintains i n t e r e s t , but the g r e a t achievement o f t h i s opera i s the thr e e c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s . A c c o r d i n g t o an American a c t r e s s who has seen t h i s opera, a c o n v i n c i n g and e f f e c t i v e b l e n d o f r e a l i s m and i d e a l i s m i s a c h i e v e d . These c h a r a c t e r s seem genuine and human, and a t the same time s u c c e s s f u l l y p o r t r a y the h i g h e s t r e v o l u t i o n a r y q u a l i t i e s . She a t t r i b u t e s The Red Lantern's p o p u l a r i t y t o t h i s success i n c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 241, 244). Raid on the White T i g e r Regiment i s another war s t o r y , but t h i s time of the Korean War. I t was f i r s t w r i t t e n i n 1958, based upon a tr u e s t o r y . I t was a l s o performed a t the F e s t i v a l o f Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes a f t e r s e v e r a l r e v i s i o n s . The s t o r y i s about a detachment o f the Chinese People's V o l u n t e e r s i n Korea d u r i n g the Korean War. With the h e l p o f the Korean people and two Korean s o l d i e r s , t h i s r econnaissance detachment c a r r i e s out a d a r i n g o p e r a t i o n behind enemy l i n e s . Under e x c e l l e n t l e a d e r s h i p , the s o l d i e r s manage t o overcome numerous o b s t a c l e s to c a r r y out a s u r p r i s e a t t a c k on the headquarters of a cra c k r e g i m e n t — t h e White T i g e r R e g i m e n t — o f the enemy f o r c e s . Coordinated w i t h a major advance of the Korean and Chinese f o r c e s , i t makes an important c o n t r i b u t i o n t o t h i s o f f e n s i v e . 76 D r a m a t i c a l l y , t h i s opera appears to be somewhat weaker than the three o u t l i n e d above. The p l o t seems a r t i f i c i a l i n p l a c e s , and the c h a r a c t e r s are l e s s memorable than i n the other t h r e e operas. The p a r t i c u l a r achievement of t h i s opera i s r e p o r t e d t o be i t s s u c c e s s f u l a d a p t a t i o n of t r a d i t i o n a l Peking opera a c r o b a t i c s to p o r t r a y modern warfare (D. Yang, 1968: 211). Raid on the White T i g e r Regiment d i f f e r s from the other operas c h i e f l y i n i t s c e n t r a l t h e m e s — t h e l i b e r a t i o n s t r u g g l e s of other peoples and the r o l e of the Chinese people i n h e l p i n g them. The f i n a l model r e v o l u t i o n a r y Peking opera i s On  the Docks. I t i s the newest o f the model operas and remains the weakest. In response to a c a l l i n 1963 f o r operas on s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n . Morning on the Docks was w r i t t e n as a n o r t h e r n Kiangsu opera. Chiang Ch'ing suggested t h a t i t be adapted f o r Peking opera, and On the Docks was the r e s u l t (Hsieh, i n Chiang, 1968: 28-9). The s e t t i n g i s the Shanghai docks i n 1963. Dockers are shown z e a l o u s l y doing t h e i r work f o r China and f o r the c o u n t r i e s t o which shipments are b e i n g s e n t . A c r i s i s r e g a r d -ing the p o l i t i c a l c o n d i t i o n s i n one crew i s p r e c i p i t a t e d by two o c c u r r e n c e s . One i s the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n o f one young docker and h i s r e q u e s t f o r t r a n s f e r t o a more glamourous job. The other i s the d i s c o v e r y of some loo s e r i c e on the dock. Apparently a sack broke w h i l e b e i n g loaded on a w a i t i n g s h i p . T h i s i s c o n s i d e r e d s e r i o u s because i t means t h a t a sack was 77 sent out underweight and t h i s v i o l a t e s the hig h work standards of the crew; f u r t h e r , nobody w i l l admit t o r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . The matter becomes more s e r i o u s when i t i s n o t i c e d t h a t there i s some loose f i b r e g l a s s on the docks i n the a r e a — i t might have become mixed w i t h the r i c e i n the broken sack. There then ensues a h u r r i e d search f o r t h a t sack b e f o r e the imminent s a i l i n g o f the s h i p . The very capable Pa r t y s e c r e t a r y o f the crew, a woman, leads the way i n r e s o l v -i n g these problems. In the end, the sack i s found, the d i s -s a t i s f i e d young docker admits t o r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and vows t o reform h i m s e l f , and the t r o u b l e s i n the crew are t r a c e d t o an o l d warehouse-keeper who i s l i n k e d t o the U n i t e d S t a t e s , Japan, and Taiwan. A r t i s t i c a l l y , t h i s i s by f a r the po o r e s t o f the model operas. The attempts t o c r e a t e dramatic t e n s i o n seem very s t r a i n e d and u n s u c c e s s f u l . The c h a r a c t e r s , even the l e a d i n g ones, are wooden and u n i n s p i r i n g . Even i n the l a t e s t r e v i s i o n (1972), t h e r e remain such l i n e s as "Ma ( f u l l o f g l a d n e s s ) : Ever s i n c e the Pa r t y h e l d i t s Tenth Plenary S e s s i o n o f the E i g h t h C e n t r a l Committee l a s t year, things i n the c o u n t r y s i d e have been g e t t i n g b e t t e r and b e t t e r . " The other operas are more e f f e c t i v e i n conveying t h e i r p o l i t i c a l messages, and t h i s one w i l l undoubtedly undergo f u r t h e r r e v i s i o n . Presumably, i t was i n c l u d e d among the model operas, not f o r i t s a r t i s t i c q u a l i t y , b u t i n order t o promote operas on the p e r i o d of s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n . C l e a r l y , such operas are more d i f f i c u l t t o c r e a t e , f o r the c l a s s s t r u g g l e i s more 78 s u b t l e and the dramatic occurrences o f wartime are not a v a i l -a b l e t o p r o v i d e a s t i r r i n g p l o t . Experimentation w i t h such operas i s s t i l l i n the begin n i n g stages, and g r e a t e r success can be expected i n the f u t u r e . The f i v e model Peking operas, taken together, demon-s t r a t e a new p o l i t i c a l use of the t h e a t r e . Out o f t h e i r v a r i e t y o f s e t t i n g s , p l o t s , and c h a r a c t e r s , a common p a t t e r n can be d i s c e r n e d . A l l e l s e i s subordinate t o the c r e a t i o n o f h i g h l y i d e a l i s e d s o c i a l i s t heroes. In every case, the emphasis i s upon one or a few such persons who, by t h e i r r e s o u r c e f u l -ness and courage, make c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o the r e v o l u t i o n or t o s o c i a l i s m . However, these are not presented, as Western heroes so commonly a r e , as unusual people w i t h i n d i v i d u a l a b i l i t i e s beyond those o f most pe o p l e . Nor are they promin-e n t f i g u r e s i n d e c i s i v e h i s t o r i c a l (past or present) e v e n t s . Rather, they are heroes from among the m a s s e s — s i m p l y pea-sants or workers or s o l d i e r s or b a s i c - l e v e l c a d r e s . They are out o f the o r d i n a r y c h i e f l y through t h e i r d e d i c a t i o n and e x p e r i e n c e — q u a l i t i e s t h a t any members of the audience i s capable o f a c q u i r i n g . So, w h i l e i d e a l i s e d i n the exemplary q u a l i t y o f t h e i r a c t i o n s , they are i n another sense very c l o s e t o the l i v e s of the people watching them on the stage. S i m i l a r l y , t h e i r a c t i o n s and successes are w i t h i n the p o s s i b l e experience o f the masses of the Chinese people. Rather than d e a l i n g w i t h unusual or world-shaking events, the operas are dramatic s t o r i e s drawn from common ex p e r i e n c e . In each opera something i s achieved t h a t c o n t r i b u t e s t o the 79 success of r e v o l u t i o n and s o c i a l i s m , b u t the achievements are s m a l l - s c a l e ones. Furthermore, they are a l l c o o p e r a t i v e achievements. The heroes do not achieve i n d i v i d u a l s u c c e s s e s — they p l a y l e a d i n g r o l e s i n c o l l e c t i v e undertakings i n which many people from among the masses make v i t a l c o n t r i b u t i o n s . I t was because of such innumerable s m a l l successes on the p a r t o f m i l l i o n s o f Chinese people t h a t the People's R e p u b l i c could be e s t a b l i s h e d and continue to develop today. The model operas are a g l o r i f i c a t i o n of p r e c i s e l y these c o n t r i b u t i o n s . They r e p r e s e n t the b e g i n n i n g o f an a r t and l i t e r a t u r e i n which th e masses o f the Chinese people take c e n t r e s t a g e . A supplementary and connected theme of p a r t i c u l a r importance t h a t i s shared by a l l the model operas i s the emancipation o f women. Women remain p a r t l y w i t h i n the context of f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s as mothers, daughters, and so on, and are shown f u l f i l l i n g these r o l e s w i t h g r e a t love and v i r t u e . But a t the same time, they a r e , i n every model opera, shown moving o u t s i d e the f a m i l y t o j o i n i n r e v o l u t i o n a r y and s o c i a l i s t s t r u g g l e s and make important c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o them. In two o f the model operas, Shachiapang and On the Docks, women are the primary heroes and i n d i v i d u a l men are secondary heroes. In The Red Lantern, a man i s the c e n t r a l hero, but h i s mother and daughter come ve r y c l o s e t o him i n importance. The other two model operas, probably because they are so m i l i t a r y i n s e t t i n g , have l e s s important r o l e s f o r women, but even i n them the r e are exemplary women. (In none o f the model operas do women appear as v i l l a i n s . ) Women i n the model operas are 80 both shown as equals of men and g i v e n e q u a l importance on the s t a g e . The model operas have g i v e n women t h e i r r i g h t -f u l p l a c e i n Chinese a r t and l i t e r a t u r e as s u r e l y as they have done so f o r the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s . There are a v a r i e t y of secondary p o l i t i c a l themes re g a r d i n g the importance of c o r r e c t army-people r e l a t i o n s , working hard to b u i l d s o c i a l i s m , h e l p i n g l i b e r a t i o n s t r u g g l e s i n f o r e i g n c o u n t r i e s , e d u c a t i n g the younger g e n e r a t i o n f o r s o c i a l i s m , and so on. Importance i s g i v e n t o d r a m a t i s i n g c o r r e c t p o s i t i o n s on major i s s u e s , but the a c t u a l i s s u e s themselves are l e s s important than the p o r t r a y a l s of c o r r e c t a n a l y s i s and e f f e c t i v e a c t i o n based upon i t . The message i s a g e n e r a l i s e d one of people s e a r c h i n g f o r the b e s t s o l u t i o n t o a problem and then p u t t i n g i t i n t o p r a c t i c e . Whatever the s p e c i f i c i s s u e , the guidance of the P a r t y and the importance of good l e a d e r s h i p on the p a r t o f b a s i c - l e v e l cadres are g i v e n g r e a t emphas i s . In every model opera there i s a c l e a r comparison of "past b i t t e r n e s s " and "present h a p p i n e s s " — t h e message i s unmistakable: the a c t i o n s o f these heroes must be emulated t o m a i n t a i n the s o c i a l i s t s o c i e t y they c r e a t e d or e l s e there may b e " f u t u r e b i t t e r n e s s as w e l l . A few o f the more important aspects o f the model operas are c l e a r l y i n d i c a t e d by the trends t h a t appear when 3 e a r l i e r and l a t e r t e x t s of the same operas are compared. The c h i e f d i f f e r e n c e i s a decrease i n emphasis on the "nega-t i v e c h a r a c t e r s " ( v i l l a i n s ) and an i n c r e a s e i n emphasis on 81 the " p o s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r s " (heroes and the masses i n g e n e r a l ) . The i s s u e o f the comparative treatment o f these two types o f c h a r a c t e r has been an important one i n the development of the model Peking operas. The p o l i c y t h a t was adopted and i n c r e a s i n g l y put i n t o e f f e c t was one o f having t h e p o s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r s c l e a r l y dominant (see Chiang, 1968; Feng, 1964). Toward t h i s end the negative c h a r a c t e r s have c o n s i s t e n t l y been g i v e n fewer songs and have been i n other ways pushed a s i d e t o make way f o r the p o s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r s . For example, Taking the B a n d i t s ' Stronghold was renamed Taking  T i g e r Mountain by S t r a t e g y i n order to g i v e prominence to the heroes and t h e i r r e s o u r c e f u l n e s s , r a t h e r than t o the v i l l a i n s and t h e i r s t r e n g t h (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 36-7). At the same time as the n e g a t i v e c h a r a c t e r s are pushed a s i d e , the p o s i t i v e c h a r a c t e r s are emphasised more s t r o n g l y . In some cases t h i s has been done by adding songs f o r the heroes which demonstrate t h e i r r e v o l u t i o n a r y and s o c i a l i s t v i r t u e s more s t r o n g l y (Chiang, 1968). Va r i o u s p o l i t i c a l messages c o n t a i n e d i n the operas have been a l t e r e d or developed more f o r c e f u l l y d u r i n g the p r o c e s s o f r e v i s i o n . For example, i n Raid on the White T i g e r  Regiment, the 1972 v e r s i o n g i v e s i n c r e a s e d prominence t o the Korean people and the theme of the importance o f f o r e i g n wars o f l i b e r a t i o n i s brought out more c l e a r l y . Another example can be found i n On the Docks: i n the e a r l i e r v e r s i o n there was c o n s i d e r a b l e ambiguity about the problems a r i s i n g on the 82 docks, but i n the l a t e r v e r s i o n the two people r e s p o n s i b l e are shown more c l e a r l y and as q u i t e d i f f e r e n t , a l l o w i n g the opera t o show the proper way o f d e a l i n g w i t h both c o n t r a d i c -t i o n s among the people and c o n t r a d i c t i o n s between the people and the enemy. Most o f the r e v i s i o n s , however, appear t o be f o r t h e purpose o f a r t i s t i c improvement. T h i s , o f course, has a p o l i t i c a l s i d e as w e l l , f o r operas w i t h e x c e l l e n t p o l i t i c a l c o n tent w i l l be u s e l e s s u n l e s s they are a l s o a r t i s t i c a l l y good. One o f the c h i e f messages the model Peking operas are intended t o convey i s t h a t good p o l i t i c s a re compatible w i t h good a r t . T h e r e f o r e , i n a d d i t i o n t o c o n s i d e r a b l e e f f o r t and repeated r e v i s i o n s b e f o r e the model operas were f i r s t p r e -sented, they have been c o n t i n u a l l y r e v i s e d s i n c e . Taking  T i g e r Mountain by Strategy, Shachiapang, and The Red Lantern had been s t a n d a r d i s e d by 1972, but the other two, the a r t i s -t i c a l l y weakest ones, were s t i l l b e i n g r e v i s e d then (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 23) and are probably s t i l l b e i n g improved today. Some o f the changes have been f a i r l y major. Shachiapang was c o n s i d e r a b l y s h o r t e n e d — i t had been p a r t i c u l a r l y l o n g . Numerous changes i n On the Docks have been made i n an e f f o r t t o i n c r e a s e dramatic t e n s i o n , a l b e i t w i t h only l i m i t e d s u c c e s s . In a l l the operas, d i a l o g u e has been a l t e r e d ; although i n many p l a c e s the substance of what i s s a i d remains the same, the p h r a s i n g has been improved. S i m i l a r changes have been made i n the l y r i c s o f the songs. 4 In many p l a c e s , the sequence of events has been somewhat changed. 83 Even i n the e a r l i e s t v e r s i o n s o f the model operas, and p r o b a b l y t o a g r e a t e r degree i n the l a t e r v e r s i o n s , t h e r e have been important a r t i s t i c i n n o v a t i o n s . The o b j e c t i s not j u s t t o change the p o l i t i c a l c o ntent of Peking operas i n s o c i a l i s t China but a l s o t o c r e a t e a new a r t i s t i c form con-gruent w i t h the s o c i a l i s t p o l i t i c a l c o n t e n t . To some exten t , the t r a d i t i o n a l Peking opera technique has been r e t a i n e d , b u t i n many cases i t has had t o be adapted t o the d i f f e r e n t s u b j e c t matter ( f o r example, modern w a r f a r e ) , and i n many i n s t a n c e s the s t y l i s e d technique has been r e p l a c e d by r e a l i s t i c a c t i o n s . The i n c r e a s e d r e a l i s m r e p r e s e n t s a tr e n d t h a t has been growing i n China s i n c e the e a r l y years o f t h i s c e ntury and which i s probably connected w i t h Western i n f l u e n c e on China (D. Yang, 1968: 225-6). Set des i g n s , costumes and make-up are a l l f a i r l y r e a l i s t i c now i n comparison w i t h the t r a d i -t i o n a l bare stages, e l a b o r a t e costumes, and exaggerated make-up. There a re s t i l l a few t r a c e s o f the o l d e r p a t t e r n s , f o r example, i n the young hero's r e d cheeks and arched eyebrows o f Yang Tze-jung i n Taking T i g e r Mountain by S t r a t e g y . A l s o , w h i l e uniforms and other c l o t h i n g may r e p r e s e n t r e a l and contemporary c l o t h i n g s t y l e s , they are not q u i t e r e a l i s t i c . For example, s o l d i e r s i n the marshes i n Shachiapang are not shown i n mud-splattered uniforms (D. Yang, 1968: 183, 212-3). The movement p a t t e r n s and speech p a t t e r n s have been made more r e a l i s t i c , although, i n p a r t i c u l a r l y dramatic moments, the t r a d i t i o n a l h i g h l y s t y l i s e d a c t i o n s and speech are used t o h i g h l i g h t these moments (D. Yang, 1968: 214-6, 84 220). The o b j e c t i v e i s a b l e n d o f " r e v o l u t i o n a r y r e a l i s m " and " r e v o l u t i o n a r y romanticism". At l e a s t w i t h r e s p e c t t o The Red Lantern, there has been a knowledgeable r e p o r t t h a t t h i s combination has been s u c c e s s f u l l y achieved (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 244). The music r e t a i n s much o f the t r a d i t i o n a l Peking opera s t y l e , although i t , too, has undergone some major changes. One change has been the enlargement o f the o r c h e s t r a and the a d d i t i o n of Western instruments. The r e s u l t has been an improvement i n power and t o n a l q u a l i t y . The music, both accompaniment and s i n g i n g , has a l s o become more e x p r e s s i v e . F u r t h e r , the t r a d i t i o n a l song p a t t e r n s f o r s p e c i f i c types o f r o l e have been p a r t l y removed. In p a r t i c u l a r , the song p a t t e r n s f o r women were found u n s u i t a b l e f o r the h e r o i c songs o f the mother and daughter i n The Red Lantern, and they used men's song p a t t e r n s . Chiang Ch'ing has been named as the person r e s p o n s i b l e f o r the changes i n the music of Peking opera (D. Yang, 1968: 221-5; L. W. Snow, 1972a: 124). The c r e a t i o n of the model Peking operas was a long and d i f f i c u l t p r o c e s s . There were s t r o n g r e v i s i o n i s t elements i n a l l the Peking opera companies i n v o l v e d , and the model operas t h e r e f o r e took form i n the midst o f sharp i d e o l o g i c a l and p o l i t i c a l s t r u g g l e s w i t h i n these companies. 5 The r e v i s i o n -i s t s i n i t i a l l y t r i e d t o b l o c k work on Peking operas on con-temporary themes. When t h a t f a i l e d , some of them j o i n e d the e f f o r t , but i n an o b j e c t i o n a b l e w a y — t h e y b u i l t up negative 85 c h a r a c t e r s and undermined the operas i n other ways. Some continued t o c r i t i c i s e the operas, l a r g e l y on a r t i s t i c grounds, d e s c r i b i n g them w i t h such phrases as "without much f l a v o u r o f Peking opera" and " j u s t p l a i n b o i l e d water" (quoted by Kuang i n Chiang, 1968: 17). While a r t i s t i c c r i t i c i s m was c e r t a i n l y j u s t i f i e d , e s p e c i a l l y a t the b e g i n -n i n g , the c o r r e c t p o l i c y was t o improve the a r t i s t i c q u a l i t y o f the model operas, not to use t h a t problem as an excuse f o r abandoning them. The model operas c o u l d not have been c r e a t e d u n l e s s the o p p o s i t i o n t o them was d e f e a t e d : "As i n the case of other r e v o l u t i o n a r y model operas, the v i c t o r y won i n the opera On the Docks i s , f i r s t and foremost, a v i c t o r y i n the s e i z u r e o f power" (Hsieh, i n Chiang, 1968: 33). Success i n t h i s s t r u g g l e was not achieved i n each opera company i n i s o l a t i o n . Those who wanted t o c r e a t e the model operas had powerful a s s i s t a n c e from o u t s i d e t h e i r opera companies. F u r t h e r , i t i s probable t h a t w ithout such h e l p the model operas would not have been c r e a t e d and some might not even have been begun. While other people were undoubtedly i n v o l v e d , i t i s Chiang Ch'ing who emerges as the most promin-ent f i g u r e , and her r o l e i n the development o f the model Peking operas appears t o have been d e c i s i v e . Chiang Ch'ing had been a p r o f e s s i o n a l a c t r e s s when younger and t h e r e f o r e had p a r t i c u l a r knowledge of the t h e a t r e t h a t enabled her t o o f f e r t e c h n i c a l guidance and t o be l i s t e n e d t o w i t h r e s p e c t by p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n the t h e a t r e . She a l s o had c o n s i d e r a b l e p r e s t i g e as the w i f e o f Mao Tse-tung. However, 86 her a c t i v i t i e s and importance i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n p e r i o d were r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from those o f e a r l i e r y e a r s . Then she had been r e l a t i v e l y i n a c t i v e , a t l e a s t as f a r as p u b l i c i s s u e s were concerned, and when she had t r i e d , i n 1950 and 1962, to c r i t i c i s e r e a c t i o n a r y a r t work, she had been ignored (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 19). In 1963, however, she became very a c t i v e i n promoting Peking opera on contemp-o r a r y themes, and a t t h i s time she d e f i n i t e l y had i n f l u e n c e . Something had changed, and most l i k e l y t h i s change was a r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t she was a c t i n g as the r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f po w e r f u l p o l i t i c a l f o r c e s . L a t e r , d u r i n g the C u l t u r a l R e v o l -u t i o n , she emerged i n t o prominence as the F i r s t Deputy Head o f the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n Group and was i d e n t i f i e d as the l e a d e r o f the r e v o l u t i o n i n l i t e r a t u r e and a r t (Wen, 1967: 113; E. Snow, 1968: 459-61). She appeared p u b l i c l y i n other c o n t e x t s as w e l l (see Hinton, 1972a: 65, 98, 130, 133, 282), but p r i m a r i l y i t was i n the area of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t t h a t she was important. In those areas, she l e d a movement t h a t c o u l d l a t e r be seen as the prelude t o the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n : The r e v o l u t i o n a r y model p l a y s were born a f t e r the p r o l e t a r i a n l i t e r a r y and a r t f i g h t e r s l e d by Comrade Chiang Ch'ing put up a b i t t e r f i g h t a g a i n s t the L i u Shao-ch'i c o u n t e r - r e v o l u t i o n a r y r e v i s i o n -i s t c l i q u e . T h e i r b i r t h was a r e v o l u t i o n . T h i s r e v o l u t i o n was f i r s t launched i n the domains o f Peking opera, b a l l e t and sym-phony. I t was the o v e r t u r e t o the b a t t l e of the Great P r o l e t a r i a n C u l t u r a l Revolu-t i o n and i t i n s p i r e d us t o a t t a c k and capture the tough c i t a d e l s of L i u Shao-c h ' i ' s c o u n t e r - r e v o l u t i o n a r y r e v i s i o n i s t l i n e one a f t e r another. (Che, 1969: 25) 87 Chiang's a c t i v i t i e s r e g a r d i n g the c r e a t i o n o f the model operas took many d i f f e r e n t forms. I t was she who suggested t h a t a d a p t a t i o n s of the Shanghai operas which were to become On the Docks and Shachiapang. In the c r e a t i o n of these and o f the other model Peking operas, she was a c t i v e i n i n i t i a t i n g and a s s i s t i n g i n b o t h p o l i t i c a l and a r t i s t i c changes. At the same time, she l e d i n the p o l i t i c a l and i d e o l o g i c a l s t r u g g l e s going on i n the opera companies. She b o t h fought the r e v i s i o n i s t s and l e d others i n study o f the T a l k s a t the Yenan Forum on L i t e r a t u r e and A r t . In a d d i t i o n t o u n dertaking i d e o l o g i c a l reform, i n a t l e a s t two cases (Taking T i g e r Mountain by S t r a t e g y and Shachiapang) the t h e a t r e workers went t o l i v e i n c o n d i t i o n s s i m i l i a r to those they would be p o r t r a y i n g on the s t a g e . Chiang Ch'ing was a l e a d e r i n t h i s as w e l l (Chiang, 1968). Chiang's p r e s t i g e and power were strengthened by some appearances by her husband. In the summer o f 1964,^ Mao attended performances of Taking the B a n d i t s ' Stronghold, Sparks Amid the Reeds, and Raid on the White T i g e r Regiment. He spoke t o the t h e a t r e workers, gave them encouragement, and even sent suggestions f o r improvement by way o f Chiang Ch'ing (Chiang, 1968: 18, 49, 59). When the F e s t i v a l of Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes took p l a c e i n 1954, Chiang Ch'ing made a major speech a t i t (Chiang, 1968: 1-7), and she was p r o b a b l y one o f the c h i e f o r g a n i s e r s o f the F e s t i v a l . 88 The F e s t i v a l i t s e l f took p l a c e i n Peking i n June and J u l y , l a s t i n g almost the f u l l two months. Twenty-nine Peking opera troupes from e i g h t e e n p r o v i n c e s , m u n i c i p a l -i t i e s , and n a t i o n a l autonomous r e g i o n s performed t h i r t y - f i v e Peking operas on contemporary themes. S i x t e e n o f these were on p a s t r e v o l u t i o n a r y s t r u g g l e s and nin e t e e n were on l i f e s i n c e L i b e r a t i o n (D. Yang, 1968: 192-4). I t was a p p a r e n t l y a g r e a t success w i t h both p a r t i c i p a n t s and audiences, f o r i t was expanded t o almost twice i t s planned s i z e a f t e r i t got under way (D. Yang, 1968: 196). The F e s t i v a l was g i v e n very wide p u b l i c i t y o f a u n i f o r m l y p o s i t i v e nature (D. Yang, 1968: 195). The F e s t i v a l was h a i l e d as a breakthrough i n the a r t s i n g e n e r a l : The p r e s e n t a t i o n o f r e v o l u t i o n a r y Peking opera on contemporary themes has a f a r -r e a c h i n g s i g n i f i c a n c e . I t has g i v e n an impetus t o the r e v o l u t i o n i n Chinese drama and s e t a good example f o r c a r r y i n g out a thorough-going s o c i a l i s t r e v o l u t i o n i n China's l i t e r a t u r e and a r t (Jen Min J i h Pao e d i t o r i a l , 1964b: 109-110). T h i s F e s t i v a l was followed by many others and by a c o r r e s p o n d i n g l y g r e a t i n c r e a s e i n the c r e a t i o n and performance of operas on contemporary themes. In 1965, a l l the major r e g i o n s o f the country h e l d f e s t i v a l s o f dramas on contempor-ar y themes. Some of these were f o r Peking opera alone, b ut some were f o r other types o f opera or f o r a v a r i e t y o f forms, i n c l u d i n g both opera and spoken drama ("The R e v o l u t i o n i s a t i o n o f the Chinese Theatre", 1966: 125). Opera troupes through-out the country were, by the summer o f 1964, r e p o r t e d t o be 89 w i d e l y experimenting w i t h operas on contemporary themes ("A R e v o l u t i o n a r y Creation", 1964: 1 ) . The r e v o l u t i o n o f Peking opera i s b e s t seen as the vanguard o f a movement t h a t was soon sweeping the t h e a t r e throughout China. An a s p e c t o f these new developments t h a t i s of p a r t i c u l a r importance was the reform o f t h e a t r e workers t h a t happened i n the process o f working on the new operas. As recommended i n the T a l k s a t the Yenan Forum on L i t e r a t u r e  and A r t , t h i s took two forms: i d e o l o g i c a l study and going among the masses (P'eng, 1965: 15-18). The emphasis appears to have been upon the l a t t e r form (see Ko, 1965; L i C h ' i , 1964; Jen Min J i h Pao e d i t o r i a l , 1 9 6 4 b ) — i d e o l o g i c a l study had t o some degree been going on s i n c e L i b e r a t i o n , but i n re c e n t years the t h e a t r e (and other a r t and l i t e r a t u r e ) workers had been becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y c u t o f f from the masses. In the development of the model operas, t h e r e was a g r e a t e f f o r t made to change t h i s s i t u a t i o n . The o b j e c t was t o produce c u l t u r a l workers who would t r u l y be us i n g t h e i r e x p e r t i s e t o serve the masses. As w i l l be seen i n the next chapter, t h i s was combined w i t h a v a r i e t y o f other measures f o r making a r t and l i t e r a t u r e serve the workers, p easants, and s o l d i e r s . The new operas on contemporary themes have a c o n t i n -u i n g importance i n China. The model operas are p a r t i c u l a r l y p r o m i n e n t — t h e y e x i s t i n f i l m v e r s i o n s , i n r e g i o n a l opera a d a p t a t i o n s , and e x e r p t s from them are performed by amateur 90 dramatic groups and " c u l t u r a l t r o u p e s " . Songs from them are a l s o w i d e l y performed and b r o a d c a s t on r a d i o (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 27; L. W. Snow, 1972b: 36). They have an impact upon a v e r y l a r g e p u b l i c both d i r e c t l y , i n these many ways, and i n d i r e c t l y , through t h e i r i n f l u e n c e on other developments i n the t h e a t r e . Peking operas on contemporary themes are o n l y one p a r t , a l b e i t an important p a r t , o f a l a r g e r movement i n the Chinese t h e a t r e aimed a t t r a n s f o r m i n g i t i n t o an a r t form t h a t would serve the workers, peasants, and s o l d i e r s i n a way t h a t i t had not s i n c e L i b e r a t i o n . 91 Notes -^The f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n i s based upon a r e a d i n g of the t e x t s of the p l a y s and a few d e s c r i p t i o n s o f performances. I have a l s o seen p a r t o f a f i l m o f Taking  T i g e r Mountain by S t r a t e g y . Since I have not seen the operas, I am l i m i t e d i n what I can say about t h e i r t h e a t r i c a l and a r t i s t i c q u a l i t y . The Red Detachment of Women was a l s o p r e s e n t e d i n Peking opera form a t the F e s t i v a l (D. Yang, 1968: 194). 2The t h r e e heroes are not a c t u a l l y r e l a t e d t o each o t h e r , as i s r e v e a l e d i n the p l a y . They formed t h e i r f a m i l y a f t e r the "mother's" husband and "daughter's" parents were k i l l e d i n a s t r i k e . " L i Yu-ho", then Chang Yu-ho, a f e l l o w worker of the two dead men, forged the new f a m i l y and c a r r i e d on r e v o l u t i o n a r y a c t i v i t i e s . One of the messages o f t h i s o p e r a i s t h a t comradeship i s as b i n d i n g as k i n s h i p . ^The v e r s i o n s upon which the f o l l o w i n g comments are based a r e : Taking the B a n d i t s ' Stronghold (1967), Taking  T i g e r Mountain by S t r a t e g y (1970), Sparks" Amid the Reeds (1964), Shachiapang (1970f> The Red L a n t e r n (1965; 1970), Raid on the White T i g e r Regiment (1967; 1972), and On the  Docks (1969; 1972). Some i n f o r m a t i o n on changes i n e a r l i e r r e v i s ions i s c o n t a i n e d i n L o i s Wheeler Snow's book (1972a) and i n a s e r i e s o f appendices t o a pamphlet by Chiang Ch'ing (1968). 4 I expect t h a t the music has a l s o been changed but I have the music f o r o n l y three operas and o n l y f o r the l a t e s t v e r s i o n s of them, so I cannot make any comparisons. In the f o l l o w i n g d i s c u s s i o n I s h a l l be c h i e f l y r e l y i n g upon a s e r i e s of f i v e extremely u s e f u l appendices to a pamphlet by Chiang Ch'ing (1968). They were w r i t t e n by members of the f i v e Peking opera companies t h a t c r e a t e d the model operas. They are c h i e f l y focused on the i d e o l o g i -c a l and p o l i t i c a l s t r u g g l e s t h a t took p l a c e i n each case. ^Two o f the appearances o c c u r r e d d u r i n g the F e s t i v a l o f Peking Opera on Contemporary Themes and one s h o r t l y a f t e r i t (Chiang, 1968: 18, 49, 59). 92 Chapter 6 A Theatre f o r the Workers, Peasants, and S o l d i e r s . . . a l l our l i t e r a t u r e and a r t are f o r the masses of the people, and i n the f i r s t p l a c e f o r the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s ; they are c r e a t e d by the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s and are f o r t h e i r use.(Mao, 1967b: 22) For those i n the t h e a t r e , i t has not been enough, s i n c e the b e g i n n i n g of the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n , to serve the masses merely by p o r t r a y i n g them on the s t a g e . Theatre workers have been c a l l e d upon t o go to the f a c t o r i e s , t o the c o u n t r y -s i d e , and t o army u n i t s , t o experience the l i v e s of the masses and take the new t h e a t r e t o them. Otherwise, the t h e a t r e workers would o b v i o u s l y not be a b l e t o p o r t r a y them c o n v i n c -i n g l y upon the s t a g e . And, what use are operas about workers, p e a s a n t s , and s o l d i e r s i f these very people never see them? The new c r e a t i o n s i n the t h e a t r e had t o be taken out o f the major c i t i e s and performed throughout the c o u n t r y . Even i n the e a r l y p o s t - L i b e r a t i o n y e a r s , opera troupes took t h e i r performances on tour to s m a l l e r c i t i e s and towns and t o f a c t o r i e s and army u n i t s , but t h i s happened on a s m a l l s c a l e (Chou K a i , 1966: 9 ) . As noted i n the p r e v i o u s c h a p t e r s , the t h e a t r e workers who produced the model Peking operas went among the masses, and t h i s became an i n c r e a s i n g t r e n d as the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n p r o g r e s s e d . I t was r e p o r t e d i n the Chinese press t h a t t h e a t r e workers were i n s p i r e d by the r e v o l u t i o n a r y operas they were working on t o go among the masses. As e a r l y as the end o f 1965, the movement of 93 t h e a t r e workers to the f a c t o r i e s , c o u n t r y s i d e , and army u n i t s was d e c l a r e d unprecedented i n magnitude ("The R e v o l -u t i o n i s a t i o n of the Chinese T h e a t r e " 1966: 133). Some of the a r t i s t s concerned were j o i n i n g i n the d a i l y work of the p e o p l e i n t h e i r work-places ( I b i d . ) . Some were even doing both ( "A Workers • ", 1969 : 15) . As t h e a t r e workers were going t o the masses, the masses, a t the same time, were moving i n t o the t h e a t r e i n an a c t i v e c a p a c i t y . They might do so i n t h e i r l o c a l s e t t i n g s , as t h e a t r e workers brought t h e i r new p l a y s t o the c o u n t r y s i d e to r e c e i v e c r i t i c i s m and suggestions from the peasants. T h i s i s now an e s s e n t i a l procedure i n the c r e a t i o n of new workers (Tsu, 1973: 20). Or the masses might l i t e r a l l y go i n t o the t h e a t r e to take a hand i n the reform o f t h e a t r e workers r i g h t i n t h e i r working p l a c e s ("A Workers'", 1969) . But, whatever r a d i c a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s might be a c h i e v e d i n the opera companies, the f a c t remained t h a t they were not s u i t a b l e v e h i c l e s f o r t a k i n g t h e a t r e to the masses. The l a r g e number o f people r e q u i r e d t o stage a f u l l - s c a l e opera, i n a d d i t i o n t o scenes, costumes, and p r o p e r t i e s , simply c o u l d not be t r a n s p o r t e d throughout the r u r a l areas t o any g r e a t e x t e n t . The model operas reach m i l l i o n s of the Chinese people o n l y i n more p o r t a b l e form as f i l m s . Theatre f o r the masses must t h e r e f o r e take some other form. P r i m a r i l y , such t h e a t r e must be s u i t a b l e f o r h i g h m o b i l i t y or e l s e i t w i l l not be a b l e t o reach the peasants i n the thousands o f v i l l a g e s : 94 The peasants account f o r over e i g h t y percent of the t o t a l p o p u l a t i o n . I f we exclude the more than 500,000,000 peasants, the s o - c a l l e d u n i v e r s a l i s a t i o n o f s o c i a l i s t c u l t u r e w i l l become an empty term. ("Hail the New Achieve-ments" 1965: 14) One o f the important measures to cope w i t h t h i s problem has been the c r e a t i o n and promotion o f r e v o l u t i o n a r y o p e r e t t a s on contemporary themes. In t h i s development, as w i t h the operas, the t r a i l was b l a z e d by a drama f e s t i v a l — the C e n t r a l - S o u t h Regional Drama F e s t i v a l i n 1965 (see "The R e v o l u t i o n i s a t i o n of the Chinese Theatre", 1966; " H a i l the New Achievements", 1965). While operas are p e r -formed i n the r u r a l areas t o some exten t , o p e r e t t a s can be more w i d e l y performed. Troupes of as few as ten members can p r e s e n t them w i t h a r e l a t i v e l y s m a l l amount of scenery, costumes, and p r o p e r t i e s . Innovations have been made t o i n c r e a s e the p o r t a b i l i t y of the equipment ("The R e v o l u t i o n -i s a t i o n of the Chinese Theatre' -, 1966: 135-6) . Such troupes are a l s o much l e s s expensive than f u l l - s c a l e opera troupes and can t h e r e f o r e be expected t o have a minimal d e f i c i t , i n some cases even t o produce a s u r p l u s ("The R e v o l u t i o n i s a t i o n o f the Chinese Theatre", 1966: 136). C l e a r l y , t h i s means t h a t i t w i l l be p o s s i b l e t o have many more such economical troupes than i f they had t o be h e a v i l y s u b s i d i s e d by the s t a t e , as do t o u r i n g opera companies. Of perhaps more importance, the o p e r e t t a s are p a r t i c u l a r l y s u i t e d f o r amateur dramatic groups, who would have d i f f i c u l t y i n producing operas. T h i s i s extremely 95 important because t o u r i n g p r o f e s s i o n a l companies cannot p o s s i b l y p r o v i d e a l a r g e amount o f t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y i n a l l o f China's v i l l a g e s . I f the t h e a t r e i s t o t h r i v e i n r u r a l China, i t must depend h e a v i l y upon amateur dramatic groups. The few c h a r a c t e r s , c o m p a r a t i v e l y simple p l o t s , and l i m i t e d t e c h n i c a l demands of o p e r e t t a s make them a v e r y important p a r t of amateur r e p e r t o i r e s . A l s o , o p e r e t t a s are e a s i e r f o r beginning and spare-time p l a y w r i g h t s t o w r i t e , and encouragement of o p e r e t t a s i s expected t o r e s u l t i n more p l a y w r i t i n g w i t h i n amateur dramatic groups ("Hail the New Achievements", 1965: 16). Fourteen o p e r e t t a s p r e s e n t e d a t the C e n t r a l - S o u t h R e g i o n a l Drama F e s t i v a l have been g i v e n p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n ("Hail the New Achievements", 1965) . They have a l l been d e s c r i b e d as having a p o l i t i c a l content s i m i l a r t o t h a t o f the model o p e r a s — t h a t i s , they p r e s e n t s t o r i e s of r e v o l u t i o n or s o c i a l i s t c o n s t r u c t i o n and urge c e r t a i n c o r r e c t p o s i t i o n s on the audience. E l e v e n o f these f o u r t e e n are on the p o s t -L i b e r a t i o n p e r i o d , s u g g e s t i n g t h a t the o p e r e t t a s may be more t o p i c a l than the model operas. The d e s c r i p t i o n upon which I am drawing s t a t e s t h a t the o p e r e t t a s "have g e n e r a l and p r a c t i -c a l i n s t r u c t i v e s i g n i f i c a n c e " ("Hail the New Achievements", 1965: 16). I t i s q u i t e probable t h a t the new o p e r e t t a s are t i e d more c l o s e l y t o c u r r e n t developments and recommend s p e c i f i c a c t i o n s more than do the new operas. The o p e r e t t a s are c e r t a i n l y s u i t e d f o r such use because they can be q u i c k l y w r i t t e n and w r i t t e n f o r s p e c i f i c l o c a l s i t u a t i o n s . 96 A more d r a s t i c change i n p r o f e s s i o n a l t h e a t r e has been the form a t i o n o f " c u l t u r a l t r o u p e s " on a l a r g e s c a l e . These are s m a l l groups o f about twelve people who are s p e c i a l i s t s i n a v a r i e t y o f d i f f e r e n t a r t f o r m s — a c t o r s , musicians, a c r o b a t s , and o t h e r s . They t r a i n each other i n t h e i r own s p e c i a l t i e s , c r e a t i n g a very v e r s a t i l e team capable of b r i n g i n g a wide v a r i e t y o f a r t forms to the v i l l a g e s . They have been p a r t i c u l a r l y n o t able i n s e r v i n g the most o u t -of-the-way p a r t s o f C h i n a — I n n e r Mongolia (see Hs i n , 1972), c o a s t a l i s l a n d s (see Wang C h i - n i n g , 1966), T i b e t (see "A Troupe", 1967), and the Gobi Desert (see A i , 1972). The c u l t u r a l troupes a re e x p l i c i t l y modeled upon the propaganda teams of the People's L i b e r a t i o n Army d u r i n g the Anti-Japanese War and the War o f L i b e r a t i o n (Chou K a i , 1966: 9; Wang C h i - n i n g , 1966: 27). Although such troupes seem to have appeared f i r s t i n p a r t i c u l a r l y s p a r s e l y populated and i s o l a t e d areas, they have spread t o more c e n t r a l p a r t s o f China (Chou K a i , 1966: 10). They resemble the e a r l i e r p r o -paganda teams very s t r o n g l y i n t h e i r s e l f - r e l i a n c e , t h e i r s p i r i t o f s e r v i n g the masses, and t h e i r p o l i t i c a l e d u c a t i o n a c t i v i t i e s . These q u a l i t i e s can be i l l u s t r a t e d by r e f e r e n c e t o the U l a n Muchirs o f Inner Mongolia. The Ulan Muchirs ("red c u l t u r a l teams" i n Mongolian) serve every area of Inner Mongolia and have been pr e s e n t e d as models f o r a l l o f China's a r t troupes (Chou K a i , 1966: 10). The Ul a n Muchirs a re models 97 o f s e l f - r e l i a n c e i n the c r e a t i o n o f t h e i r own m a t e r i a l . E i g h t y p e r c e n t o f t h e i r r e p e r t o i r e i s w r i t t e n by themselves, s p e c i f i c a l l y to meet the needs o f the Mongolian people who are t h e i r audiences. (Among the remaining twenty p e r c e n t are the model operas, presumably somewhat a l t e r e d and adapted.) The Ulan Muchirs a l s o promote the s e l f - r e l i a n c e o f the l o c a l people by h e l p i n g t r a i n t h e i r amateur groups and by r e c u r i t i n g new members to t h e i r troupes from among the Mongolian people (Hsin, 1972: 145-9). As w i t h the other c u l t u r a l troupes, the Ulan Muchirs are e n e r g e t i c i n s e r v i n g the people, both i n t h e i r p r o f e s -s i o n a l a r t i s t i c r o l e and i n other r e s p e c t s . T h e i r assignment i s a demanding one to b e g i n w i t h — c o n s t a n t t r a v e l l i n g , w r i t i n g t h e i r own m a t e r i a l , and performing i n such a wide v a r i e t y of a r t f o r m s — b u t they make i t even more demanding by b e i n g sure t o r e a c h even the most i s o l a t e d people, no matter how few i n number (Hsin, 1972: 145). T h i s i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a l l the c u l t u r a l troupes and i s one of t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s t h a t r e c e i v e s h i g h e s t p r a i s e i n the Chinese press (see Wang C h i - n i n g , 1966; "A Troupe", 1967; A i , 1972). They a l s o perform a wide v a r i e t y o f s e r v i c e f u n c t i o n s t h a t are p a r t i c u l a r l y v a l u a b l e t o the i s o l a t e d herdsmen, such as b r i n g i n g goods from town and t r e a t i n g minor a i l m e n t s (Hsin, 1972: 149). They even j o i n i n the everyday work of the masses (Chou K a i , 1966: 10). In a d d i t i o n to a l l t h i s , the U l a n Muchirs a l s o c a r r y on p o l i t i c a l e d u c a t i o n work by i n c o r p o r a t i n g p o l i t i c a l messages i n t h e i r performances. T h i s p o l i t i c a l a s p e c t has been 98 p a r t i c u l a r l y important i n the c u l t u r a l troupes s i n c e the be g i n n i n g of the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n , and they have been a c t i v e i n c a r r y i n g the s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t r e v i s i o n i s m i n t o the remote v i l l a g e s they serve (Hsin, 1972; Wang C h i - n i n g , 1966; "A Troupe", 1967). There have been some p o l i t i c a l d i f f i c u l t i e s w i t h i n the Ulan Muchirs: some members l e d t h e i r troupes i n a r e v i s i o n -i s t d i r e c t i o n , b u t t h i s was c o r r e c t e d by means of i d e o l o g i c a l study under the guidance o f the Pa r t y (Hsin, 1972: 150). Th i s i s p a r t of a l a r g e r problem t h a t has been d i f f i c u l t t o d e a l w i t h and t h a t may s t i l l remain. I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o maintain p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o l over w i d e l y d i s p e r s e d t h e a t r i c a l groups, both p r o f e s s i o n a l and amateur. Apparently some o f these groups have been promoting r e v i s i o n i s m and th e r e has been a c a l l f o r inc r e a s e d c o n t r o l t o be e x e r c i s e d over t h e a t r i c a l groups a t the l o c a l l e v e l (Che, 1969: 26-8). The P.L.A. i s p a r t i c u l a r l y a c t i v e i n sending out r u r a l troupes, i n l i n e w i t h i t s t r a d i t i o n o f c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y . Some o f the c u l t u r a l troupes c i t e d above are P.L.A. c u l t u r a l troupes p r i m a r i l y s e r v i n g s o l d i e r s a t d i s t a n t outposts (see A i , 1972: "A Troupe", 1967; Wang C h i -ning, 1966). The P.L.A. a l s o has propaganda teams propagat-ing Mao Tse-tung Thought a l l over the country (Hung, 1969: 150). These are probably more s t r i c t l y p o l i t i c a l i n purpose than are the c u l t u r a l t roupes. 99 As noted above, the amateur dramatic groups are c r u c i a l f o r the development o f the t h e a t r e i n the c o u n t r y -s i d e , where most o f the Chinese people l i v e . There have been r e p o r t s of an i n c r e a s e i n such a c t i v i t y s i n c e the years j u s t p r e c e d i n g the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n (L. W. Snow, 1972a: 307-11; Members o f the Amateur T h e a t r i c a l Troupe o f Hopei Peasants, 1967; L i n e t a l . 1968: 10). What makes t h i s a c t i v i t y p a r t i c u l a r l y important i s t h a t , as shown above, p r o f e s s i o n a l s i n the t h e a t r e are being moved out o f t h e i r a r t i s t i c e n c l a v e s i n the major c i t i e s and are being used t o t r a i n these amateurs. The new t h e a t r e o f China i s thus an i n t e g r a t e d s t r u c t u r e o p e r a t i n g a t s e v e r a l l e v e l s but none of these l e v e l s i s removed from the masses. Even the top opera troupes i n the major c i t i e s p e r i o d i c a l l y go to the c o u n t r y -s i d e t o do manual lab o u r , to perform f o r the peasants, or t o do b o t h . I n c r e a s i n g emphasis i s b e i n g p l a c e d on s m a l l e r p r o f e s s i o n a l troupes, e s p e c i a l l y the v e r y s m a l l and v e r s a t i l e " c u l t u r a l troupes", which are a b l e t o undertake more e x t e n -s i v e t r a v e l and t h e r e f o r e b e t t e r serve the r u r a l masses. These groupes are l i n k e d w i t h amateur dramatic groups a l l over the c o u n t r y . The o b j e c t i s a t r a n s f e r of p r o f e s s i o n a l e x p e r t i s e t o the amateurs and a g a i n i n popular q u a l i t y f o r the p r o f e s s i o n a l s . T h i s i s the shape of the new t h e a t r e t h a t i s emerging i n China today. 100 Chapter 7 C o n c l u s i o n In t h i s t h e s i s , I have t r a c e d the development o f the t h e a t r e i n China i n a p o l i t i c a l c o n t e x t s i n c e the b e g i n n i n g of the t w e n t i e t h century, w i t h p a r t i c u l a r a t t e n t i o n t o the p e r i o d s i n c e L i b e r a t i o n . The extremely p o l i t i c a l nature of the t h e a t r e has been demonstrated, both i n the sense of i t s responsiveness t o v a r i o u s p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s , and i n the sense o f the a c t i v e p o l i t i c a l r o l e i t has p l a y e d . The emphasis throughout has been upon t r a c i n g the development of a funda-mental p o l i t i c a l t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n the t h e a t r e . What has been accomplished i n the t h e a t r e i n China i s n othing l e s s than a r e v o l u t i o n . The content of the p l a y s has been d r a s t i c a l l y changed by the c r e a t i o n o f a new body of works p o r t r a y i n g the workers, peasants, s o l d i e r s , and women of China i n t h e i r r e v o l u t i o n a r y and s o c i a l i s t a c t i v i t i e s . The o r g a n i s a t i o n o f t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y has a l s o been t r a n s -formed. Even the e l i t e t h a t used to be i s o l a t e d from the masses by b e i n g r e s t r i c t e d t o the major c i t i e s , has been l e d by the P a r t y i n going to the masses where they are and i n s e r v i n g them t h e r e . The new g e n e r a t i o n of workers i n the t h e a t r e i s being l e d to a d i f f e r e n t type of p r o f e s s i o n a l c a r e e r — g o i n g out t o serve the workers, peasants and s o l d i e r s wherever they are, and t r a i n i n g them f o r amateur t h e a t r e groups. 101 The p o l i t i c a l development o f the t h e a t r e i s important i n i t s e l f , b u t i t gains f u r t h e r s i g n i f i c a n c e when seen w i t h i n the con t e x t o f other changes t a k i n g p l a c e i n Chinese s o c i e t y a t the same time. In the years o f war a g a i n s t the Japanese and the Kuomintang, the t h e a t r e had an important r o l e i n the s t r a t e g y of people's war b e i n g used by the Chinese Communist Party under the l e a d e r s h i p o f Mao Tse-tung. The important q u a l i t y of people's war t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s i t from other forms of modern warfare i s i t s p a r t i c u l a r l y h e a v i l y r e l i a n c e upon a c t i v e c i v i l i a n p a r t i e i p t a t i o n . P o l i t i c a l m o b i l i s a t i o n t h e r e -f o r e had hig h p r i o r i t y and the t h e a t r e had a prominent p l a c e i n t h i s a s p e c t of people's war. This i s made c l e a r by Mao Tse-tung i n "On P r o t r a c t e d War": A n a t i o n a l r e v o l u t i o n a r y war as g r e a t as ours cannot be won without e x t e n s i v e and thoroughgoing p o l i t i c a l m o b i l i s a t i o n . . . . The m o b i l i s a t i o n o f the common people through-out the country w i l l c r e a t e a v a s t sea i n which t o drown the enemy, c r e a t e the c o n d i -t i o n s t h a t w i l l make up f o r our i n f e r i o r i t y i n arms and other t h i n g s , and c r e a t e the p r e r e q u i s i t e s f o r overcoming every d i f f i c u l t y i n the war What does p o l i t i c a l m o b i l i s a t i o n mean? F i r s t , i t means t e l l i n g the army and the people about the p o l i t i c a l arm of the war. I t i s necessary f o r every s o l d i e r and c i v i l i a n t o see why the war must be fought and how i t concerns him.... Secondly, i t i s not enough merely t o e x p l a i n the aim t o them; the steps and p o l i c i e s f o r i t s attainment must a l s o be g i v e n , t h a t i s , the r e must be a p o l i t i c a l programme.... T h i r d l y , how should we m o b i l i s e them? By word of. mouth, by l e a f l e t s and b u l l e t i n s , by newspapers, books and pamphlets, through p l a y s and f i l m s , through s c h o o l s , through the mass o r g a n i s a t i o n s and through our c a d r e s . . . . F o u r t h l y , t o m o b i l i s e 102 once i s not enough; p o l i t i c a l m o b i l i s a -t i o n f o r the War o f R e s i s t a n c e must be continuous. Our job i s not t o r e c i t e our p o l i t i c a l programme t o the people, f o r nobody w i l l l i s t e n t o such r e c i t a -t i o n s ; we must l i n k the p o l i t i c a l m o b i l i s a t i o n f o r the war w i t h develop-ments i n the war and w i t h the l i f e o f the s o l d i e r s and the people, and make i t a continuous movement. This i s a matter of immense importance on which our v i c t o r y i n the war p r i m a r i l y depends. (Mao, 1967c: 228-9) Among the methods Mao l i s t e d , r e a c h i n g the people through p l a y s was perhaps the most important. T h i s was because p e r s o n a l c o n t a c t c o u l d reach o n l y a l i m i t e d number o f people, because t h e r e were r e l a t i v e l y few f i l m s and s c h o o l s , and because most o f the people were i l l i t e r a t e . The l i m i t a t i o n s o f the a l t e r n a t i v e s put a p a r t i c u l a r l y heavy lo a d upon the t h e a t r e . The v a l u e o f the t h e a t r e t o the war e f f o r t meant t h a t reform o f the t h e a t r i c a l p r o f e s s i o n a l s was very important. T h i s i s s u e i s p a r t of the l a r g e r one o f the p l a c e o f i n t e l l e c t u a l s i n r e v o l u t i o n and i n s o c i a l i s m . I n t e l -l e c t u a l s were recognised, as b e i n g needed f o r the success of t h e r e v o l u t i o n (see Mao, 1968). The problem, then, was not whether they had a p l a c e i n the r e v o l u t i o n but r a t h e r , what t h a t p l a c e was and how they c o u l d f i l l i t . They were p r e -dominantly members o f the r u l i n g c l a s s e s o f o l d China, and t h e r e f o r e not c l o s e t o the masses of the pe o p l e . However, the commitment and courage o f the l a r g e numbers of them who went t o the Red areas d u r i n g the c i v i l wars and the A n t i -Japanese War i n d i c a t e d t h a t they were not a l l supporters of the s t a t u s quo. The q u a l i t y o f i n t e l l e c t u a l s t h a t a l l o w s 103 them t o move so f a r from t h e i r c l a s s b a c k g r o u n d — t h e i r r e l a t i v e c l a s s l e s s n e s s (see Mannheim, 1936: 1 5 3 - 6 4 ) — a l s o makes i t d i f f i c u l t t o i n t e g r a t e them i n t o another c l a s s (the p r o l e t a r i a t or the peasantry, f o r example). The r e c t i f i c a -t i o n movement o f 1942-4 was, i n p a r t , an attempt to d e a l w i t h t h i s problem by having i n t e l l e c t u a l s , i n c l u d i n g those i n the t h e a t r e , experience l i f e among the masses and engage i n i d e o l o g i c a l study (see Chapter 2 ) . Only p a r t i a l reform was a c h i e v e d a t t h i s p o i n t . The decade f o l l o w i n g L i b e r a t i o n saw r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e advance i n the t h e a t r e . I t was a p e r i o d , f i r s t o f chaos, and then of r e v i v a l o f the Chinese t h e a t r e . The s i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h i s p e r i o d i n the t h e a t r e was i n b u i l d i n g a f o u n d a t i o n upon which f u t u r e , more important, developments c o u l d r i s e (see Chapter 3 ) . In the e a r l y 1960's, i t became apparent t h a t r e v i s i o n i s t t endencies were growing i n the t h e a t r e . T h i s would not have been p a r t i c u l a r l y important i f i t had been an i s o l a t e d development, but t h a t was not the case. I t was l i n k e d both to widespread d i s c o n t e n t a r i s i n g from the Great Leap Forward, and t o o r g a n i s e d o p p o s i t i o n t o Mao's l e a d e r s h i p and p o l i c i e s (see Chapter 4 ) . What was happening i n the t h e a t r e should t h e r e f o r e be viewed as r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f the problems t h a t made the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n n e c e s s a r y . The Great P r o l e t a r i a n C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n was, as i t s name i n d i c a t e s , a r e v o l u t i o n i n the c u l t u r a l realm. Mao Tse-tung and h i s s u p p o r t e r s were not complacent about the 104 successes achieved i n s e i z i n g p o l i t i c a l power and c a r r y i n g out economic t r a n s f o r m a t i o n . They saw t h a t very s e r i o u s problems continued t o e x i s t on the i d e o l o g i c a l l e v e l . A l a r g e p a r t o f t h i s was the problem of the p l a c e of i n t e l -l e c t u a l s i n the new China. They r e t a i n e d many a t t i t u d e s and h a b i t s from t h e i r l a n d l o r d and bourgeois c h i l d h o o d s , and had not t r u l y u n i t e d w i t h the masses. The s e r i o u s n e s s of t h i s problem i s r e f l e c t e d i n the support t h a t the r e v i s i o n -i s t i n t e l l e c t u a l s r e c e i v e d from powerful persons w i t h i n the P a r t y . The s i t u a t i o n i n the t h e a t r e a t t h i s time shows the problem o f the b l a c k l i n e among i n t e l l e c t u a l s v ery c l e a r l y . In the t h e a t r e there were both p o l i t i c a l l y unaware b a c k s l i d e r s and people who were a c t i v e i n u s i n g the t h e a t r e f o r r e v i s i o n -i s t purposes. The cases of Wu Han and T ' i e n Han, as r e v e a l e d i n the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n , show c l e a r l y the c o n n e c t i o n between r e v i s i o n i s t s i n the t h e a t r e and powerful persons i n the P a r t y . A l s o , because o f the group nature of t h e a t r i c a l a c t i v i t y , the s t r u g g l e between the two l i n e s i n the a c t u a l p r o c e s s of a r t i s t i c .creation was v i s i b l e . For a l l these reasons, the t h e a t r e as a p a r t i c u l a r l y good area upon which t o focus i n l o o k i n g a t the b l a c k l i n e . The t h e a t r e a l s o r e v e a l s some o f the more g e n e r a l developments o f the C u l t u r a l R e v o l u t i o n p e r i o d . In the r e -newed emphasis on i d e o l o g i c a l reform and going to the masses, as p r e s c r i b e d by Mao i n the T a l k s a t the Yenan Forum on  L i t e r a t u r e and A r t , can be seen the r e t u r n t o the s p i r i t o f 105 the Yenan p e r i o d . T h i s i s a l s o apparent i n the p r e s e n t a -t i o n of the wartime P.L.A. propaganda teams as a model f o r t h e a t r i c a l workers. A l s o , the emphasis on the c o l l e c t i v e c r e a t i o n of new operas, spoken dramas, and s h o r t e r t h e a t r i c a l works by amateurs (Members of the Amateur T h e a t r i c a l Troupe o f Hopei Peasants, 1967), and by members of p r o f e s s i o n a l t h e a t r i c a l troupes r e p r e s e n t s a movement away from s p e c i a l i s a t i o n i n p l a y w r i t i n g by a few i n t e l l e c t u a l s . More and more people are b e i n g drawn i n t o t h i s aspect o f c r e a t i v i t y and i t i s no longer the p r e r o g a t i v e o f a few. A f u r t h e r important development i n the t h e a t r e t h a t i s i n d i c a t i v e o f trends i n other s e c t o r s of Chinese s o c i e t y i s the i n c r e a s e d o r i e n t a t i o n of t h e a t r e towards s e r v i n g the peasants. As w i t h medicine and the d e c e n t r a l i s a t i o n of i n d u s t r i a l development, t h i s i n d i c a t e s the r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e c e n t r a l a u t h o r i t i e s t h a t the masses of the people are p r i m a r i l y i n the c o u n t r y s i d e and w i l l remain con c e n t r a t e d t h e r e i n the f o r e s e e a b l e f u t u r e . T h e r e f o r e , any p o l i c y of s e r v i n g the people must accept t h i s f a c t and a d j u s t i t s e l f t o i t . The means the t h e a t r e has developed f o r s e r v i n g the r u r a l masses are v i l l a g e amateur groups, c u l t u r a l troupes, and opera troupes going to the c o u n t r y s i d e (see Chapter 6 ) . In c o n c l u s i o n , l e s t i t be thought t h a t the Chinese t h e a t r e i s t o t a l l y p o l i t i c a l i n nature, I would l i k e t o emphasise t h a t there have been important a r t i s t i c developments 106 as w e l l , although these have not been of major concern here (but see Chapter 5 ) . The Chinese g i v e importance t o the a r t i s t i c s i d e of t h e a t r e and i t s development. They see t h a t a t p r e s e n t the t h e a t r e i s a r t i s t i c a l l y weak and t h a t improvement w i l l r e q u i r e a long time (Ko, 1967: 66-7). The c u r r e n t r e v i s i o n s o f even the model operas and the moderate a r t i s t i c success of The Red Lante r n are very promising developments. F u r t h e r a r t i s t i c improvement i s t o be expected i n the f u t u r e , but i t w i l l take p l a c e w i t h i n the p o l i t i c a l framework t h a t has been d e s c r i b e d i n t h i s t h e s i s . What Mao wrote i n 1942 s t i l l r e f l e c t s the Chinese p o l i c y on a r t and l i t e r a t u r e : Although man's s o c i a l l i f e i s the onl y source of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t and i s incomparably l i v e l i e r and r i c h e r i n content, the people are not s a t i s f i e d w i t h l i f e alone and demand l i t e r a t u r e and a r t as w e l l . Why? Because, w h i l e both are b e a u t i f u l , l i f e as r e f l e c t e d i n works of l i t e r a t u r e and a r t can and ought t o be on a h i g h e r plane, more in t e n s e , more concentrated, more t y p i c a l , nearer the i d e a l , and t h e r e f o r e more u n i v e r s a l than a c t u a l everyday l i f e . R e v o l u t i o n a r y l i t e r a t u r e and a r t should c r e a t e a v a r i e t y o f c h a r a c t e r s out of r e a l l i f e and h e l p the masses t o p r o p e l h i s t o r y forward. 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