Mao's Cultural Army: Drama Troupes in China's Rural by Brian James DeMare

By Brian James DeMare

Charting their education, travels, and performances, this leading edge examine explores the function of the artists that roamed the chinese language nation-state in aid of Mao's communist revolution. DeMare lines the advance of Mao's 'cultural military' from its genesis in crimson military propaganda groups to its complete improvement as a principally civilian strength composed of novice drama troupes within the early years of the PRC. Drawing from memoirs, inventive handbooks, and infrequent archival assets, Mao's Cultural military uncovers the onerous and complicated technique of growing progressive dramas that may entice China's all-important rural audiences. The Communists strived for a disciplined cultural military to advertise social gathering rules, yet audiences frequently avoided sleek and didactic indicates, and as a substitute clamoured for standard works. DeMare illustrates how drama troupes, stuck among the social gathering and their audiences, did their most sensible to withstand the ever becoming succeed in of the PRC country.

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In land reform, drama troupes staged shows to inspire class hatred and spread the political culture needed to complete the campaigns, but actors also served on land reform work teams, using their highly valued political skills to oversee these complex and violent campaigns. During the urban takeover, finally, cultural workers brought land reform operas to new audiences. Urban crowds, anxious to learn about the Communists, flocked to these shows in huge numbers. Audiences, however, were often hostile to newly arrived cultural workers, and some rural artists found difficulty handling the culture clash that urban work represented.

As Houn admits, the impact of these films was limited by the ability of the Communist Party to get the movies to the villages; in 1950, there were only 100 mobile projection units in China. Franklin. W. , 1961), 199–201. Introduction: Performing Mao’s revolution 21 performance and the actual experiences of cultural workers, who were mostly uneducated children led by intellectuals pushed “down” into cultural work. As explored in Chapter 1, the Communists’ nascent cultural army focused on performing for Red Army soldiers defending the base areas, but at this early stage revolutionary drama was little more than an ineffective weapon of war.

43 Best investigated through symbolic practices such as rhetoric and ritual, a focus on political culture reveals the meaning of rural revolution on a lived and experiential level. 44 In terms of rhetoric, the land reform era saw a new vocabulary enter the countryside, but no neologism was more closely linked to the campaign then fanshen. Literally meaning “to turn the body,” fanshen quickly became a metaphor for socialist-led awakening. , Zhongguo de tudigaige [China’s land reform] (Beijing: Dangdai zhongguo chubanshe, 1996), 2.

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