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Cao Yu and his dramatic world

01-06-2011 09:06 BJT

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From promoting the arts we move to celebrating them in this next story... Honored as the "Shakespeare of the Orient," Cao Yu was one of the greatest playwrights of 20th-Century China. 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Cao's birth. Let's recall the late dramatist and his stage art.

Yang Ran, Beijing, said, "This is the Capital Theater, the shrine of Beijing People's Art Theater, also known as Ren Yi. Bronze busts of three co-founders of Renyi are bestowed in the theater hall, and Cao Yu is emplaced in the center as supremacy."

Cao Yu's plays are the nutrition for all the dramatic artists of New China. It's almost impossible to find an actor who has never played in Cao's dramas.

It's hard to count how many times Cao Yu's plays have been adapted and staged. His writings have become the standard, and the messages his works convey are pervasive and eternal.

To mark the dramatist's 100th birthday on September 24th, Cao Yu's classic works were re-staged over a one-month period, including his second play "Sunrise", his personal favorite and his most profound work "Peking Man". These were followed by "Wilderness", Cao's most complicated and controversial play.

His thematic treatments respect an individual's progressive moral degradation in the face of a hostile society, the externalizing of human's sub-consciousness and inner conflicts, and the combination of expressionism and realism... Cao Yu's contribution to Chinese stage drama is unparalleled.

Wan Fang, Cao Yu's daughter, Dramatist, said, "A century is such a long long period. It's a miracle that my father is still remembered, admired and inspiring others today, even though he has left the world for 14 years. I think it is all because his works are a sharp and profound reflection of people and the reality. Renyi is like a huge magnet that allures all the drama lovers and practitioners, including my father. And the center of the magnetism is the stage. I believe my father's soul has always accompanied the theater and I can feel he is here tonight with us."

Born as Wan Jiabao, Cao Yu's hometown was in central China's Hubei Province and then moved to Tianjin.

Cao Yu was first matriculated at Nankai University's Department of Political Science, but transferred the following year to Tsinghua University, where he studied until graduating in 1934 with a degree in Western Languages and Literature. During his last year at the university, he completed his first drama, "Thunderstorm", which would mark a milestone in Chinese theatre of the 20th century.

After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, Cao Yu took on the role of director of Beijing People's Art Theatre in 1952 - a role he would remain in for the rest of his life.

His manuscripts, letters, playbills, translated works, and some of his personal objects are elaborately collected by Renyi. And his bronze bust, along with author Lao She and director Jiao Juyin, pores over all the changes of his beloved theater and audiences, year after year.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: CNTV.CN

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