Author: Tian Suna

  【Hot Spot Observation】

  At the end of 2020, the TV series "Installation" broadcast by CCTV triggered heated discussions, and its ratings and word-of-mouth have achieved double harvests. Related topics are still hot today.

From January 12th to 17th, 2021, the Shaanxi People's Art Theatre Week in Shanghai once again ushered in a hot scene that is hard to find. The drama "White Deer Plain" and "The Ordinary World" have been performed for five or six years. Still going on.

This phenomenon proves the strong vitality of literary works, and also shows the high-quality text guarantee of serious literary masterpieces.

  The adaptations of serious literature (mainly novels) have always been very popular and are also expected by readers and audiences.

But for some time, due to the impact of online literary adaptations and other art forms, serious literary adaptations have been cold, and it is difficult to repeat the grand occasion of excellent works.

In recent years, a number of literary masterpieces have regained their favor, and many adaptations that have been broadcasted, performed or screened have received positive reviews and have frequently appeared in circles. People can see the good momentum of serious literary adaptations, and readers and audiences are undoubtedly full of expectations.

The conversion of fine literary works to fine-adapted works is not easy. Text selection, staged, film and television adaptation and conversion are many tests. How to rely on strong text guarantees to adapt and create more fine literary works is still a difficult problem for many literary and art practitioners.

 1. The selected works are all masterpieces with insights into human nature and society

  "First-class works, third-rate adaptations" is a curse that is difficult to break through the adaptation of works.

Throughout the serious literary works selected by the adaptors, there are all masterpieces that have insight into human nature and society, and still have unique value and practical significance through time and space.

As Mo Yan said, "I believe that a good director will never read a bad story, because anyone can make up this kind of story. What attracts him is the pure artistry of the novel or the ideas expressed by the novelist."

The artistry and thought that Mo Yan said is precisely the soul of a serious literary masterpiece. How to transplant the beauty created by language and writing onto the screen or on the stage, in order to preserve the soul of the original work and give it to the stage, film and television. New life, this is a difficult problem that the adaptors must face. Jewels and jade are the first, whether they choose precise restoration or innovative adaptation, they must face huge challenges.

  The narrative medium of literary texts is language, and its expressive means have greater flexibility, tolerance, and uncertainty; while the narrative medium of drama and film and television uses more performances and pictures, and its expressive means are relatively limited, fixed and even Unchangeable.

Literary language, stage language, and film and television language are completely different ways of expression. In the process of staged or filmed literary works, the problem of language conversion is particularly important. This point needs to be understood from the beginning of text selection.

Not all literary masterpieces are suitable for stage, film and television. According to Xia Yan, a good literary script must meet three conditions: First, it must have good ideological content and the work must be of educational significance to the broad audience. This is a prerequisite; Secondly, movies are different from prose, poetry, and novels. They must have a relatively complete and compact plot and a relatively complete story, that is, there must be contradictions, struggles, and endings.

If the work lacks this condition, there will be no play to watch; in the end, there must be several (at least one) characters with distinctive personalities.

  The three conditions mentioned by Xia Yan are equally applicable to both staged and filmed literary works. Good texts are often scrambled by various dramas, such as Cao Yu's "Thunderstorm" and Lao She's "Teahouse". Dramas are often performed and adapted. The film and television dramas also shocked many audiences; another example is Chen Zhongshi's "White Deer Plain" and Lu Yao's "Ordinary World", which are successively put on the stage, and some people continue to make film and television attempts; and "Dust Settled" A series of Mao Dun literature award-winning works such as "Song of Everlasting Regret" and "The Dark Calculation" shine brightly in various art fields with their strong textual charm.

However, strong texts cannot make all adaptations "guaranteed". Sometimes, it is more difficult to transform the charm of literary language into the charm of stage or film and television through adaptation than original.

 2. The stage of masterpieces is not only about pruning branches, but also giving new life to the works

  The creation of dramas is particularly dependent on scripts. Most classic dramas familiar to the audience are supported by strong literary texts. Except for professional scripts created by Cao Yu and Lao She, most of them are adapted from literary masterpieces.

For example, the representative work of Beijing Renyi "Camel Xiangzi" is adapted from the novel of the same name by Lao She, "Home" is adapted from the novel of the same name by Ba Jin, and "Bailuyuan" and "Ordinary World", which are called the "Biandilian" of Shaanxi People's Art, also have it. Strong text support.

These works are repeated every year as a repertoire of the troupe in the audience's voices and expectations. The reason lies in the mutual protection and mutual achievement of serious literary works and adapted works.

  In recent years, literary masterpieces such as Liu Zhenyun's "A Sentence Is Worth Ten Thousand Sentences", Jin Yucheng's "Flowers", Xu Xu's "Wind Xiaoxiao", and Bi Feiyu's "What Is Left for a Man" have been put on the stage one after another, and Chen Yan's " The Mao Dun Prize-winning works such as "The Protagonist", Li Peifu's "Book of Life" and Alai's "Dust Settled" have also entered the stage of script adaptation and creation.

We look forward to the emergence of fine dramas, and at the same time we will sweat for the adaptors.

  The stagedization of literary works and the transformation from literary nature to dramatic is the biggest challenge. How to avoid the loss of one and the other during adaptation is also a great test.

Putting literary language on the stage not only needs to transform the text into a performance that the audience can see, hear, and feel, and use the stage vocabulary to complete the transformation of the text, but also give the work new life.

Drama is not a storytelling ground for retelling stories through the stage. A successful adaptation is tantamount to a brand new creation.

The stage of literary works is not only pruning branches and leaves, but more importantly, injecting a new soul.

That is, on the basis of respecting the spiritual core of the original work, it reflects the individualized understanding and interpretation of the creators, and expresses deep and profound thoughts with a light stage interpretation.

Only in this way will the adaptations have a new life and live in the hearts of the audience in another form.

However, in practice, the quality of adaptations of the same classic literary masterpieces is uneven, which to some extent determines the fate of the works.

  Taking Shaanxi Renyi's "Biandilian", "Bailuyuan" and "Ordinary World" as examples, the stage play "Bailuyuan" of Shaanxi Renyi version is the "most satisfactory adaptation" of Chen Zhongshi's lifetime, and it is also a classic work praised by the audience.

The reason is that the first is that the most essential content is retained when the work is deleted, and the core plot can be artistically reproduced; the second is that the whole Shaanxi dialect and the magical use of Huayin old tunes present a thick Shaanxi country flavor; the third is the ingenious design of the "song team" The transformation of the literary language, not only supplements the lack of individual characters and plot, but also integrates the plot naturally.

The adaptation truly achieved the staged literary language and completed the soul-focusing of the new work. In the end, a masterpiece was artistically condensed and took root in the hearts of the audience with a new image.

In comparison, the adaptation of "The Ordinary World" is somewhat different, and the audience's comments are mixed.

The emergence of lines, plots, performances and other problems are ultimately due to the inadequacy of the adaptation. Once the work is dead, it is obviously not enough to rely on the charm of the original to attract people.

 3. The film and television of the novel must be courageous, but not lose the soul of the original

  The development of Chinese film and television dramas has always maintained a close coexistence relationship with literature. Most classic film and television dramas are escorted by the content of literary original works.

Recalling the history of Chinese film, whether it is the early works of famous artists such as Lu Xun, Mao Dun, Cao Yu, Lao She, Ba Jin, or later revolutionary themed literary works such as "Red Sun", "Lin Haixueyuan", "Song of Youth" and "Sanliwan" and "Longxu" Realistic literary works such as "The Gully" and "Tea House" have appeared on the screen with a new look.

Later, with the popularity of TV sets and the development of TV series, literary masterpieces such as "Thunderstorm" and "Tea House" were adapted into TV series and entered thousands of households.

Since the 1980s, excellent Chinese film and television dramas have emerged, such as "Furong Town", "Living", "The Wind", "Red Sorghum", "Judou", "Raise the Red Lantern", "Farewell My Concubine" and other film masterpieces, as well as "Ordinary "The World", "The Young Son of Heaven", "The Sky of History", and "The Scheming" are all adapted from literary masterpieces, many of which are awarded the Mao Dun Literature Award.

  Many classic works have been left behind in the film and television production of fine literary works, but in the process of transforming fine works into fine works, there are also many failures and controversial cases.

For example, the movie version of "White Deer Plain" was released in the anticipation of the year, but in the end it failed to deliver a perfect answer.

The film has been polished for more than ten years, showing the ambition of the main creative team.

The authentic Shaanxi flavor, the magnificent lens language, and the commendable performances of the actors are all highlights. However, the fragmented plot and the improper deletion of some core characters eventually led to the fiasco of the film.

How to express an epic in two or three hours is a common problem faced by all masterpiece adaptations. It is often difficult to succeed in greed.

In this regard, there is a significant difference between the movie version of "White Deer Plain" and the drama version of "White Deer Plain."

The deletion of "Bai Xiaowu" and other characters in the drama version of "Bai Lu Yuan" and the reservation of "Mr. Zhu" are regarded as just right choices.

  The film and television of literary masterpieces do require the courage to give up, but they must not lose the soul of the original.

Both the stage-based and film-based adaptations of "Tea House" are regarded as excellent works. The drama is often performed unfailingly. The TV drama version and the movie version of Douban scored 9.2 and 9.5 points respectively. The reason is the simple narrative structure and setting. The soul of the original tragicomedy has been preserved to the greatest extent in the creation of film and television.

  Some time ago, the TV series of the same name adapted from Chen Yan's novel "Zhuangtai" and the TV series of the same name adapted from Anai's novel "Dajiang Dahe" sparked an upsurge in watching dramas, and Mo Yan's "Breasts and Fat Ass" and Jin Yucheng's " "Flowers", Liang Xiaosheng's "Human World", and Chen Yan's other novel "The Protagonist" are already on the way to film and television. The spring of serious literary adaptations is worth looking forward to.

  (Author: Tian Suna, the Department of Hubei Academy of Fine Arts lecturer)