A piece of Chinese history: 8 model dramas in Chinese Culture Revolution (1966–1976)  Shajia Creek
Posted by Grace Feng on August 27, 2012
The Chinese Culture Revolution is a very special period of Chinese history in which the Gang of Four dictated almost every aspect of people’s life. During the Revolution, nothing is allowed in theatres except 8 model dramas (样板戏 yàng bǎn xì ) that were personally approved by Jiang Qing, Mao’s wife, also the leader of the Gang of Four.
It is hard to watch the 8 model dramas today since the roles in the play were depicted so “unreal and unnatural”. Good characters move between heroic poses that keep reminding me of a puppet, instead of a real person. Bad characters are purposely uglified to show how miserable and pathetic they are. The story itself might not be a bad one. But with all these deliberately set up “stereotype performance”, the play is full of weird taste.
History is history. 10 years of Culture Revolution was a tragedy of a nation that China can never forget. It has always been a heavy topic to talk about even after so many years.
In this series of post, I will collect the stories and images of all 8 model dramas and translate the story into English. They might can help my readers to have a peek into that period of Chinese history.
This story is basically a battle of wits among members of the Communist Party, members of the KMT, local bandits, and the Japanese in the background of the Second Sino-Chinese War. The main role of this drama is a women member of the Party, named A Qing (阿庆嫂), that worked underground as a controller and point of contact to unite as more Chinese as she could to fight Japanese invading.
However, it was not an easy job at all since people that belong to different parties and gangs didn’t have belief in common and they fought with each other. That required A Qing to be full of wits and courage to protect her own comrades and at the same time destroy her enemy.
The main plot of the drama can be outlined as below:
The leader of a group of wounded Red Army soldiers were secretly getting treatment in Shajia Creek area. A Qing, the owner of a local tea house, among a few others were covering those soldiers from being found by KMT. At the same time, Japanese army were invading the area, which made the situation of the 18 soldiers even more dangerous.
However, A Qing was very calm and smart in her way to socialize with the suspicious enemies, Chuang Kui Hu and De Yi Diao, who worked for KMT and surrendered to Japanese. She managed to hide the soldiers from their enemies and moved ahead with her side of plan. The soldiers themselves became stronger and stronger underground force day after day.
In the end, the soldiers destroyed the KMT enemies and in turn drove away Japanese invaders.
Today Shajia Creek area (Chang Shu city, Jiang Su Province) has been developed into a vacation destination that encompasses a big area of marshes nature reserve. It attracts tourists not just because of the fame of the drama, but also its ecological environment and scenic view:
For seafood lovers, it’s also a place that you can satisfy your craving with its famous crab! :-)
Category: Chinese culture and history
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