Source: Peking Review, No. 34, August 23, 1974
A theatrical festival of Shanghai, Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region and Hunan and Liaoning Provinces opened in Peking on August 12. Eight thousand workers, peasants, soldiers and other sections of the people saw the first day's performances in five theatres.
Sponsored by the Cultural Group Under the State Council, the festival opened in an excellent situation in which the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius is developing in depth and is being carried out in a popularized and sustained way. A follow-up of the north China theatrical festival earlier this year, the current festival is yet another review of the new achievements of the revolution in literature and art.
Renmin Ribao on August 20 published a short commentary to mark the occasion. It pointed out that this festival "is of great significance in furthering the implementation of Chairman Mao's proletarian revolutionary line in literature and art, deepening the revolution in this field, making the creations of socialist literature and art more flourishing and criticizing the revisionist line in literature and art."
The commentary added that literary and art workers, spurred on by the movement: to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, have studied in earnest the Party's basic line for the historical period of socialism and have gone into the midst of the workers, peasants and soldiers to acquaint themselves with their life and struggle. Bold in practice, they have made conscientious efforts at creations to make socialist literature and art more and more flourishing. The number of model revolutionary theatrical works has been steadily increased and many new works of various artistic forms have appeared, all adding up to a flourishing scene with a hundred flowers in bloom. This is a forceful rebuttal to the class enemies' slanders and attacks.
Over a dozen local operas performed at the festival are adapted from the model revolutionary theatrical works; they include kuaku and hxiangchu operas from Hunan, ping-chu opera from Liaoning, huchu opera, shaohsing opera and huaichu opera from Shanghai, and kweichu, ciiuangchu and tsaitiao operas from Kwangsi. A salient feature of the current festival, as the Renmin Ribao commentary pointed out, is that participating troupes from all four places are staging model revolutionary theatrical works in local forms. This, the commentary added, "reflects the new achievements in the reform of local operas under the impact of the model revolutionary theatrical works and is an indication of firm domination of the stage by these model works."
The commentary went on to say that the model revolutionary theatrical works are splendid achievements stemming from a thorough refutation of the counter-revolutionary revisionist line in literature and art and from the implementation of Chairman Mao's revolutionary line in literature and art and putting into practice the principles of "making the past serve the present and foreign things serve China" and "weeding through the old to bring forth the new" laid down by Chairman Mao. Through an exchange of the experience gained in adapting model revolutionary theatrical works, the current festival will play a significant rote in promoting the reform of local operas, in encouraging those engaged in other forms of literary and art creations to learn from the model revolutionary theatrical works and in deepening the revolution in literature and art.
Items presented at the festival are Varied in form. Many of them show that new efforts have been made to select the subject-matter, to explore new themes and to portray the heroic images. These works sing the praises of the valiant struggles of the Chinese people under the loader-ship of the Chinese Communist Party over the past 50 years, the tremendous victories of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and the socialist new things which are full of vitality. Energetic efforts have been made to portray typical proletarian heroes and heroines, especially the images of those of the younger generation who have matured in the Great Cultural Revolution and the images of those heroes and heroines who stand in the van of the struggle between the two classes and two lines in order to carry out Chairman Mao's revolutionary line. The commentary praised these works because they "embody the spirit of our socialist era, brim over with revolutionary fervour, inspire the people and fulfil in a relatively good way the militant role of revolutionary literature and art 'for uniting and educating (he people and for attacking and destroying the enemy.'"
The current festival is also a review of the contingent of proletarian literary and art workers, the commentary said. Tempered in the Great Cultural Revolution, they have further raised their consciousness of class struggle and the two-line struggle and of continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. A new contingent of literary and art workers from among the workers, peasants and soldiers is making its appearance. With the ranks of proletarian literary and art workers growing in strength, the revolution in literature and art is bound to develop in a deep-going way and literary and art creative activities will surely thrive.
In conclusion, the commentary pointed out: "An excellent situation prevails on the literary and art front. But the struggle is still going on unabated. The overthrown landlord and capitalist classes are not reconciled to the fact that they have lost their positions nor will they give up their dream of staging a come-back. They are always spying out the land and resorting to a variety of tactics to pit against us overtly or covertly in a vain attempt to turn back the clock of history. In the present excellent situation, we must never slacken our vigilance or lower our guard." The commentary called on the revolutionary literary and art workers to take an active part in the movement to criticize Lin Piao and Confucius, "read and study conscientiously and have a good grasp of Marxism" in the course of struggle, constantly enhance their consciousness ol class struggle and the two-line struggle, strive to implement Chairman Mao's revolutionary line in literature and art and create more and better new works.
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