Li Youguo, Luo Shuncheng, Zhao Zhifang, Li Fenglian… Hearing the names of these people, some people may not know why, but some people will see blood and tears in their eyes. They are the protagonists in China’s first drama art work “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” that depicts the Long March in a panoramic style. They are the images of thousands of Red Army soldiers who participated in the Long March condensed on the stage. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the 85th anniversary of the victory of the Long March. On such days, we review this classic work and pay tribute to the ancestors who have sacrificed thousands of lives on the road to victory.
Stage photo of “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” re-arranged in the 1970s.
Message from the Times
Belief is not only a question of believing it or not, but also being able to act for it if you believe it. The protagonist of “Thousands of Waters and Mountains” is a group of people who act for faith. ——Chen Jiadou, son of Chen Qitong
●Worked as a screenwriter in private school for only one year
The former director and actor of the Zongzheng Repertory Troupe, Chen Jiadou, once starred in the drama “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains”, and is also the eldest son of the screenwriter and director of the play and the “general dramatist” Chen Qitong. This work by his father is also the most important work of art by Chen Jiadou in his life.
As the first drama art work depicting the Long March in a panoramic style, “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” can be described as a landmark work, but Chen Jiadou said that in fact, his father’s education level is not high, and he only went to private school for one year when he was a child. It turned out that Chen Qitong was born in a poor farmer’s family in Bazhong County, Sichuan. The family did not have any land, and lived on farming for others.
In Sichuan at that time, the life of poor people was very difficult, not only did they not have enough food and clothing, but warlords, landlords, bandits, and militia all exploited and oppressed ordinary people at will. “Under this situation, a team suddenly came to tell you that you can build a beautiful, happy, and equal society. This society is called a socialist society. Everyone will definitely participate.” Chen Jiadou It is said that Chen Qitong embarked on the road of revolution very early, joined the Communist Youth League in 1932, and when he officially became a party member in 1933, he was less than 17 years old. When he participated in the Long March, he was called the “red little ghost”.
The scene of the Yihai alliance on the stage of “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” in the 1950s.
But this “red little ghost” has a lot of thoughts. He followed the Red Fourth Front “three times over the grass” and experienced the dangers of the Long March. He has seen countless comrades fall on the Long March road. write it down. After the victory of the Long March, he came to Yan’an. He first wrote some live newspaper dramas and newsletters, and then it took more than a year to write the drama “Twenty-Five Thousand Miles of Hard Work”, which is the first version of the drama “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains”. It is not easy for Chen Qitong, who has only been in a private school for a year, to create such a work, but he has an uncontrollable passion in his heart. He wants to cry out what he has personally experienced, seen with his own eyes, and heard with his own ears. The heroes and the great journey of the Long March are recorded.
Because of the large scale of this work, the Yan’an troupe had no ability to perform at that time, and there was no rehearsal after the first edition was completed. Later, Chen Qitong revised it many times. It was not until March 1949 that the Art Troupe of the Political Department of the Shenyang Army, where he worked, performed the play for the first time. It was called “Tie Liu Twenty Five Thousand Miles” at that time. Limited by the size of the cultural troupe, Chen Qitong’s presentation on stage this time did not satisfy Chen Qitong.
The real premiere of this play was performed in Beijing in June 1954 by the Zongzheng Cultural and Cultural Troupe’s Repertory Troupe personally formed by Chen Qitong. This troupe brings together the most powerful actors and actresses in art troupes from all over the country, including the famous actor Lan Ma who he recruited himself. The performance at that time was very sensational, and the audience had to line up outside the theater overnight with blankets if they wanted to buy tickets.
●Those figures can’t go away for a long time
In the first scene of the drama “A Thousand Waters and Thousand Mountains”, there is a scene of bayonet fighting with the enemy, which is very thrilling. Chen Jiadou said that this story comes from his father’s personal experience.
In a battle in the Long March, Chen Qitong stabbed the bayonet into the enemy’s stomach before pulling it out. Someone from the other side stabbed him again. When he was too late to escape, he grabbed the enemy’s bayonet with his right hand and his left hand. With their own barrels, when the two were in a stalemate with each other, another enemy came. When the situation was extremely critical, fortunately a comrade in arms came over and saved his life. It was because this time that he grabbed the bayonet with his hand and injured his right hand, and his four fingers could no longer bend. No one could have imagined that he could write so many works with his four fingers on the right hand that cannot be bent.
In the drama “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains”, there are not only Chen Qitong’s own stories, but also many people and things he heard and saw. The instructor Li Youguo is the protagonist in the play. His prototype is not one person but many people. There is a scene in the play that Li Youguo has a fever before the snow mountain. If he insists on following the troops, he will probably die on the snow mountain in the harsh environment. It will be much safer if you stay in your hometown, but it means leaving the revolutionary ranks. In the end, he decided to continue with the Red Army, even if he was facing death.
“Li Youguo is concentrated on the stories and spirits of many comrades in arms. They would rather die than discard their faith. They think that it is meaningless to live without faith.” Chen Jiadou said that his father told him many touching stories on the Long March. When Chen Qitong was in the West Route Army, once on the battlefield after the battle, he saw a wounded soldier alive and wanted to take him away for treatment. But the soldier said: “Don’t save me, take me with you, you can only hurt you. Just leave a gun for me. When the enemy is cleaning the battlefield, I can kill another enemy.” No one knows this. The last bullet of the soldier was left to whom, but his image remained lingering in Chen Qitong’s heart for a long time.
The play “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” puts the brushstrokes on ordinary instructors and fighters. They were born in poverty and believe that following the Communist Party, they will be able to build a society where everyone is equal, free from exploitation and oppression. They are willing to dedicate their lives to this ideal. “Faith is not just a question of believing it or not, it is also about being able to act for it if you believe it. The protagonist of “Thousands of Waters and Mountains” is a group of people who act for faith.” Chen Jiadou said.
●Don’t let the audience think this is a play
“I remember very clearly that the blue horse was only three or four meters away from me during rehearsal, but it didn’t feel like acting at all.” Chen Jiadou often followed his father to the rehearsal hall when he was a child, and he still clearly remembers “A Thousand Waters and A Thousand Mountains” at that time. Rehearsal situation.
Chen Jiadou said, “True” is the consistent requirement of his father when he created and directed “Thousands of Waters and Thousands of Mountains”. This drama is different from ordinary dramas. There is no technical beginning, climax, and ending, and no contradictions between the characters are constantly changing and intensifying.
Chen Qitong likes the former Soviet film “Xia Boyang” very much, and the real and natural feeling is also reflected in his “Thousands of Waters and Mountains”. In the pursuit of truth, the actors selected at the time were all very young, because during the Long March the soldiers were all 18 or 9 years old, and many of them became army commanders and division commanders in their twenties. When performing, Chen Qitong asked the actors to be true from the heart to the appearance, “Blue Horse has this skill. He has not learned any performance system, but it is true from the inside out, without drama accent and style. “In Chen Jiadou’s opinion, it is this group of actors who are as experienced as blue horses who have made the high-level performance of “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains”.
In addition to the performance, Chen Qitong also strives to be true to the stage details. Chen Jiadou remembers that when he watched the production stage set of “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” when he was a child, the staff made mountain rock props, not only sprayed green on the surface, but also dyed the loofah and glued it to imitate the feeling of moss.
While adhering to realistic creation, Chen Qitong also does not reject other new technologies and concepts. Many people don’t know that Chen Qitong also organized the research and development of the earliest wireless microphone in China. At that time, Chen Qitong saw that the North Korean Song and Dance Troupe used a wireless microphone when it came to China to perform. The actors did not have to deliberately raise their voices during the performance to allow the audience in the last row to hear clearly, which was more suitable for expressing rich and true emotions. To this end, he researched and developed our own wireless microphone. Although the wireless microphone at that time was the size of a pen, and there was a section of wire behind it, when several microphones were used on the stage at the same time, they would interfere with each other, but he insisted on using it in “A Thousand Waters and A Thousand Mountains”.
For new performance concepts, Chen Qitong will also be used by me. In 1974, “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains”, while adhering to realism, also added expressionist techniques. For example, the “Zunyi Meeting” scene is a very realistic expression. In the next “Four Crossings of Chishui”, dances will be used to show the process of the Red Army’s Crossing of Chishui, and the next one will be a realistic performance. “My father thinks that if realism and expressionism are combined in the same scene, there will be a sense of nonsense, and he doesn’t want the audience to feel that he is watching the show, and hopes that everyone feels that things are true and emotions are true. “
In 2011, in order to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the party, Chen Jiadou, as the director, put “Thousands of Waters and Thousands of Mountains” on the stage after decades of absence, and revisited the Long March Road for a tour. In Chen Jiadou’s opinion, “Thousands of Waters and Thousand Mountains” still has great practical significance for today’s audience. It is asking: Do you have faith? Can you act for faith?
(Original title: Panoramic reappearance of the Long March, thousands of waters and thousands of mountains, a true portrayal of the image of a Red Army soldier Chen Qitong: “Red Little Ghost” is a great epic)
Source: Beijing Daily reporter Niu Chunmei
Process editor: u010
Copyright statement: The copyright of the text belongs to the Beijing News Group, and may not be reproduced or adapted without permission.