Modern Chinese Drama
Modern Chinese Drama, or Huaju ("spoken play"),
started to develop in the early part of the last century in Shanghai.
Different from traditional Chinese operas, it soon won fans for its realistic
portrayals of the lives of common folk and for its wide range of works from such
Western playwrights as Shakespeare, Moliere and Chekhov. Since then, a number of
Chinese playwrights have created works that realistically reflect the changes in
the lives of the Chinese before and after the founding of New China.
The most memorable include "Teahouse," "The Beijing Man," "The Thunderstorm,"
"The Family" and "The Prairie."
Younger playwrights have tried to develop a more modern style, exploring the
inner psyche of personalities with more modernist works and incorporating more
modern theatrical techniques.
Western Drama in Chinese View
During the development of Chinese drama, it was some Chinese diplomats who
made the first contacts with western drama during their visits to western
countries. They watched some western plays partly because they attended
diplomatic receptions and partly out of pure curiosity.
Modern Chinese Drama at the Initial
In general, drama historians deemed the Spring Willow Society's performance
of la Dame aux Camelias and Uncle Tom's Cabin in Tokyo as the beginning of
modern Chinese drama.
First Directors of Chinese Modern
Hong Shen and Zhang Pengchun had made indelible contribution to the
establishment of modern Chinese director system. Prior to them, there was no
director in China when any play was staged.
Emergence of Realism in Modern Chinese
May Fourth Movement ushered in a period of "absorbing new trends and shaking
off the outmoded conventions". China opened her arms to embrace almost all
western drama trends that appeared or were emerging during that period. These
schools include Oscar Wilde's aesthetic drama, the symbolist drama represented
by Maurice Maeterlinck, Gerhart Hauptmann and Leonid Nikolayevich Andreyev,
expressionist drama presented by August Strindberg and Eugene O'Neill and the
Italian futuristic plays. Chinese dramatists named them all as