It is an old tradition of Beijing People's Performing Arts to perform "Teahouse" after the Spring Festival.

On the occasion of commemorating the 125th anniversary of Lao She’s birth, on the thirteenth day of the first lunar month, Beijing People’s Performing Arts’ “treasure of the town” once again appeared on the stage. After its premiere in the Year of the Dragon, the total number of performances of “Teahouse” reached 735, and the hot box office once again confirmed that “ Classic" ever new vitality.

  Lao Yutai has been "opening" on the stage of Beijing People's Art Theater for more than 60 years.

Now that we have entered a new era, how to make this classic drama both maintain the tradition and have a new flavor based on the collective wisdom of previous artists has become a new topic for Beijing People's Arts.

  In life, the tea becomes weaker and weaker as time goes by, but on stage, the "tea" in "Tea House" becomes stronger and stronger. Beijing People's Arts' "tea" road is difficult but also determined.

  time difficulty

  How to show what you have never experienced

  "Teahouse" is set in the old Yutai Teahouse. It spans nearly half a century in three acts and tells the story of the changes of the times through the joys and sorrows of many small characters.

Mr. Lao She once said, "A teahouse is a place where three religions and nine streams meet, and can accommodate all kinds of people. A big teahouse is a small society." Mr. Lao She "sees the big from the small", and shows the decline of old China and the people through the story of a teahouse The situation includes not only the history and current situation of old China, but also the customs and customs of old Beijing.

  This was originally a challenge for theater artists.

After more than sixty years of hard work, this challenge has not only not weakened, but has become more difficult.

The artistic director of this revival, Yang Lixin, who plays the role of Master Qin in the play, said that in 1958, the artists when this play was created and staged had all experienced the Republic of China era and had personal feelings about life in the old society. But now we are far away from that era. It is already far away, and actors cannot have the direct understanding derived from life like old artists.

  "Actors are emotional. The more they have experienced it, the better they can understand it and the better they can create performances. If you just read the text and rely on your imagination, the performance will still have a sense of distance. But now the audience has high requirements for actors' creations and hopes to see Authentic old Beijing. As actors living in the present, how our performances can resonate with the audience's historical memories and imagination is a very big test - the more exciting the play, the more difficult it is to perform. Our goal is to bring Everyone continues to polish and live a solid life on the stage." Yang Lixin said.

  Difficulty in innovation

  On the basis of predecessors, do you dare to deny yourself?

  Pu Cunxin, chairman of the Chinese Drama Association and who plays the role of Fourth Master Chang, described the annual "Teahouse" this way, "Classic works often perform Chang Xin, and the audience is also new. Every time it is like climbing a mountain, climbing to the top and then returning to the starting point. We They all go from secular life to the backstage. In each performance, they must enter the theatrical life and the work as quickly as possible from their own lives." In his view, this is a topic that must be faced in every round of performances. The first step is to enter this stage. Daomen.

  After more than 20 years of performance, Pu Cunxin thinks that today is completely different from when he first performed in "Teahouse" in 2000. "I was very young at that time. I sincerely asked Mr. Huang Zongjiang for his opinion. He refused to comment and just said, ' It's not easy'. I know that he has melancholy, which is due to his nostalgia for the "Tea House" performed by the seniors. They are deeply obsessed with the scene of their seniors' performances, and suddenly become these young people, including the new stage design. They can't help but accept."

  In Pu Cunxin's view, Lin Zhaohua, the director of "Teahouse" at that time, was an artist who could "deny" himself for the sake of art.

As a well-known drama director, Lin Zhaohua restored Jiao Juyin's version when he revived "Teahouse" in 2005.

But this is not giving up on innovation, nor is it bowing to reality.

In fact, during the rehearsal at that time, Lin Zhaohua subtly injected his understanding and interpretation of the work into the actors' performances, helping the actors to improve their performances.

Speaking of the creative scene at that time, Pu Cunxin was full of respect for Lin Zhaohua.

  Pu Cunxin said: "We sincerely inherit the artistic standards created by our predecessors. After years of hard work, we have made some progress, but to this day we are still looking for the level and style that our predecessors have achieved. We have been climbing that mountain." Peak, even though many of the roles in "Tea House" have been taken over by young actors, for us, we still require ourselves to be as close to the peak as possible and close to the backs of our predecessors."

  Difficulty in digging

  So many details, from history to original work

  Playing the role of Shopkeeper Wang again, Liang Guanhua, who has performed more than 300 performances, still feels that there is infinite things to explore. "Playing "Teahouse" is still stressful." So he started preparations early.

If there is any special meaning to this performance, it is that "performing every scene well is the best memorial to Mr. Lao She."

  "The audience will see its past appearance and the historical details of our nation in the frame of the drama stage like flipping through a book, as well as the difficult fate of the characters. We can only do our best to complete this drama with quality. "The drama." Pu Cunxin said, "We have one wish, which is to try our best to present the heights we can climb to the audience."

  Difficulties in replacement

  If the succession is not up to standard, "Teahouse" may be suspended for a year or two

  Although he has become the dean of Beijing People's Art Theatre, Feng Yuanzheng still cherishes the role of Song Erye very much.

At that time, because he was very different in appearance from the Second Master Song played by Huang Zongluo, he was relatively "resistant" to the role. However, after more than 20 years of acting, he not only made people accept the new Second Master Song, but also became interested in the role of Second Master Song. Feelings.

Invisibly, he inherited the legacy of previous artists in his own way.

  "This year, some young actors have joined the crew to play supporting roles, which is also a kind of inheritance. It allows them to feel the atmosphere of the "Teahouse" crew and pave the way for future succession." Feng Yuanzheng said.

  Facing the transition between old and new, "Teahouse", when will it take over and how will it be completed?

"Feng Yuanzheng" has been thinking about it for the past two years.

Feng Yuanzheng mentioned the issue of "whether the replacement is smooth". The so-called "whether it is smooth" means whether the subsequent actors can meet the requirements of the original work, whether they can match the roles they take on, and whether they can be recognized by the industry and outside the industry.

"If the replacement is not so smooth, it is likely that there will be a pause of one or two years in between." Feng Yuanzheng said.

  In Feng Yuanzheng's view, the classicity of "Teahouse" is both a classic of the script and a classic of performances by old artists. "Our generation has become an intermediate force in inheriting this classic to this day, and what the audience likes is the actor's interpretation of the role." interpretation. Every year the performance is different, there will be new understandings and new progress, and the ups and downs of the characters will be expressed more clearly."

  Text/Reporter Guo Jia Coordinator/Man Yi