กก
Art Q&A > Drama
Advanced Search
E-Mail This Article Print Friendly Format
A Revolutionary Playwright: Xia Yan

Xia Yan (1900-1995) had another name of Shen Naixi, with the alias Duanxuan and Duanxian. He was born into a declining family on the outskirts of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province on Oct. 30th, 1900. His father died when he was only three years old and the life for the family became even harder. Anyway, Xia did not only like opera, but also the classic novels as well as Tanci (storytelling in Suzhou dialect to the accompaniment of stringed instruments) in his childhood.

After graduation in 1920, Xia planned to study in France, but failed. One year later, he was recommended to a Japanese school by the provincial government to study electrical engineering. During his years abroad, Xia read a lot of philosophical as well as literary works and began to show his increasing interest in literature. Meanwhile, he also showed his interest in socialism and read some classic works like Communist Manifesto, through which he had a further understanding of scientific socialism. In the autumn of 1924, Xia met Sun Yat-Sen, by whose introduction he joined the Kuomintang (KMT) and did some propaganda work for the overseas organizations of the KMT.

Being among the wanted list of April 12th Coup, Xia was expelled by the Japanese government. He went back to Shanghai in the summer of the same year and immediately involved himself into the activities of the Communist Party, which declared his political breakup from the Right Wing of the KMT.

In 1930, Xia participated in the launch of the China Left-Wing Writers League and was selected as a member of the committee. Later, he also took part in the launch of Chinese Dramatist Union. Under the leadership of Qu Qiubai, he wrote some screenplays. He was arrested by the KMT government in 1935, and for some time had to live in seclusion. He created some drama scripts like Under the Eaves of Shanghai. After the burst of the War of Resistance Against Japan, he, together with Guo Moruo, established a patriotic paper. Later he mainly engaged himself in journalism and drama scripts. He worked as an editor in newspaper offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Guilin, Chongqing, Hong Kong and Singapore, etc., and published a number of proses, satirical essays, political comments and drama scripts, etc.

Xia's dramas depicting the War of Resistance Against Japan show his deep concern about the fate and future of the nation, strong hatred towards darkness and the enemy, pursuit for a healthier life and love of the people. All this proved that he was a revolutionary dramatist who had been working under the constant watch of the KMT. As a result, a lot of his plays may seem obscure and implicative in terms of mythos, figures and conversation of the dramatis personae, but the overall keynote is lucid and optimistic, trying to guide the people to a positive and strenuous way.

All rights reserved. Reproduction of text for non-commercial purposes is permitted provided that both the source and author are acknowledged and a notifying email is sent to us.