The Drama Tea House
The Drama Tea House, written by the excellent modern Chinese writer Lao She in 1956 and published in 1957, is a snapshot of the society and a social critic on the background of a family running a tea house for three generations.
Lao She (1899-1966), real name Shu Qingchun, was of Manchurian descent and the famous author of the book called 芒鈧揅amel Xiangzi芒鈧?also known in the US as 芒鈧揜ickshaw芒鈧? It was a bestseller in the US where Lao She was a visiting professor. He also taught Chinese at the Oriental School of London University in his earlier days. His drama Teahouse displayed his linguistic talent of the Beijing dialect, depicting the customers with their bird cages and their pipes enjoying tea and gossip. Other famous works are Crescent Moon, City of Cats, The Yellow Storm and the Drum Singers. Unfortunately, despite his great love for China, he was hounded by the Gang of Four to suicide by drowning. He was posthumously rehabilitated in 1979 and his complete works were fully available.
The guests of the tea house are coming from all different social groups, from capitalists to police people, poor families selling their daughters, eunuchs, teachers and landless farmers.
The theatre play is famous not only in China, but also is worldwide known for the social engagement of the writer who accuses the circumstances of the poor. Every generation, from the late Qing time to the Warlord Period to the eve of the "liberation" by the communists, is suffering even more than the former generation.
This theatre play is first staged by Beijing People"s Art Theatre in 1958 which involved over 70 characters and it is regarded as a portraying the lives of people of various strata through the changes of over half a century and the critic of the so-called feudal society of old China .