Drama to highlight the role of masters of art and literature in times of war

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A poster for the documentary drama, Literature and Art in the War of Resistance, which premieres Oct. 1 at the National Center for the Performing Arts and runs through Oct. 7.[Photo provided to China Daily]

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of Chairman Mao Zedong’s speech at the Yan’an Forum on Literature and Art in May 1942, the National Theater of China promoted its new documentary drama, Literature and Art in the War of resistance, during a press conference. held recently in Beijing.

The drama depicts the struggles of famous writers and artists, including Lu Xun, Guo Moruo, Cao Yu, Ding Ling, and Qin Yi, during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-45), as these intellectuals tried to find a direction for the development of Chinese literature and art.

According to Luo Bing, one of the screenwriters, they have started collecting and organizing historical literature and other material related to the theme since July last year, including masters’ works, audio recordings and speeches. .

A particular challenge was to find the exact times and places of the events in which the masters were involved.

“Since war was a time when people drifted from place to place and endured many hardships, their memory was often not accurate,” Luo explains.

“When remembering the same event, sometimes different people’s memories of times and places don’t match. For greater accuracy, we spent a lot of time comparing and checking their records, trying to figure out the exact information .”

Tian Qinxin, director of the National Theater of China, who is also the director of the play, mentions that it is a combination of dramatic performance and video art, in which stage art, sound effects and light all play an important role.

Wang Danrong, who designs the sound effects for the play, says he uses a large amount of old audio recordings in the drama, so the audience can hear the real sounds of the past.

“For example, I used the oldest version of ringing the bell on the Bund in Shanghai that I could find, to try to take the audience back to the 1930s when our country was at war,” explains Wang.

In the drama, actor Tian Yu plays famous writer Shen Dehong, also known as Shen Yanbing, better known by his pseudonym Mao Dun.

He learned about Shen’s life, works, and especially his experience during the war in preparation for the role.

“Shen loved his country so much,” Tian Yu said.

“Even at the most dangerous time, he tried to bring literature and art to full play.

“If we hadn’t prepared for this drama, we wouldn’t have known how important literature and art can be when a country is going through a difficult time.”

Tian Qinxin, the director of the play, adds, “During the rehearsal process, we were all deeply touched by the spirit of the masters and their efforts to save the country.

The drama will premiere on October 1 at the National Center for the Performing Arts and will continue until October 7.

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