[We (Us),1985]Huanju (spoken drama)This spoken drama by Wang Peigong (b. 1943) presents the disillusionment of a group of ‘educated youth’ (zhiqing) sent down to the countryside during the Cultural Revolution (see xiafang, xiaxiang). Seven irreverent young people, bound together by their collective hardships in Act I, turn in Act II towards individual dreams as they prepare for the newly reinstated university entrance examinations, and reunite briefly in Act III to share news of their lives and recall the distance from their youthful ideals. Although one member of the group, Yue Yang, demonstrates a continuing commitment to socialist ideals, he does not dominate the play or inspire others. Although the inhumanity of the Cultural Revolution is portrayed, the dispirited attitudes of the characters in later years leave the suggestion that social problems are not confined to that earlier era. For these reasons, conservative members of the Communist Party attacked the play for failing to offer a positive evaluation of contemporary society. However, others defended, performed and published the play in an unprecedented act of defiance of these Party authorities, who did, however, subsequently stage a cultural purge in 1987 (see cultural purges). Wang Peigong, who was then in the People’s Liberation Army, transferred to the Beijing Youth Art Theatre, and thereafter continued to write avant-garde plays and film scripts.Wang, Peigong (1998). ‘WM’. In Yan Haiping (ed), Theater and Society: An Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Drama. New York: East Gate Book Publishing, 60–122.EDWARD GUNN
Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Compiled by EdwART. 2011.