Reported by Wang Li and Chen Dayin （www.xnnews.com.cn）
In cities, people don’t feel vacuous spiritually because they have advanced network media. Besides, they can take part in activities when they are free. However, in the remote rural places, people still live an original life that they go to bed when night comes. So it’s not hard to understand that in the villagers’ eyes, the drama performance to them is far more worth expecting than celebrating festivals.
The village: The lively atmosphere surpassed that of the Chinese New Year.
On the afternoon of February 11, the reporter followed the Xian’an District Song and Dance Troupe to the famous scenic spot in Xian’an District--Star Bamboo Forest Park, located in the 12th group of Xilingchen, Xinging Village, Tingsi Town.
At 5 p.m., the actors and crew began to set up a stage in a public room.
“The venue and equipments are limited, so the stage effect may be a little different, but we will try to meet the demands of the people and show them the best performance.” Luo Limin, the deputy head of the Xian’an District Song and Dance Troupe, said with a smile.
When the actors were dining, the villager Chen Jiuquan hurried to steam two plates of smoked bacon at home for them. Some enthusiastic villagers carried fireworks and firecrackers to celebrate.
Over 300 villagers living closer had already squeezed in the small room early and waited with their torches. Liu Jianhua, Vice Secretary of Party branch and Director said, it was the first time that they had watched the performance of the Xian’an District Song and Dance Troupe in their village. The atmosphere was livelier than that of the Spring Festival.
At 7 p.m., the performance started. The National Second-Grade Actor Wang Wuling sang a few songs and the audience applauded thunderously. Part of the Xianning large-sized song and dance drama Deep Bamboo Grove made people lost in the beautiful love stories and dances. The comic dialogue about respecting the elderly amused both the young and the old with humorous moves and witty lines. Villager Song Meirong, moved secretly to a corner of the stage, taking out of her mobile phone which was bought in the Spring Festival, watching and taking photos.
At 9 p.m., Liu Jianhua smiled and said, “the effect of watching on the spot is quite different from watching TV. It is really marvelous.”
After the performance, in order to make the actors and crew see the road clearly at night, Song Meirong considerately hurried home and lit the lights by the roadside.
Actors: They bore the hardship without complaint.
Since 2007, the Xian’an District Song and Dance Troupe has given nearly a hundred performances in the rural areas, covering 14 villages and towns in Xian’an District. It has also given over 300 performances in communities, schools and welfare institutions at their own expenses. It has won great praise by the people.
Wang Wuling had been retired, but she didn’t miss one single performance like this. She wore unlined clothes and sang a few songs that day. She also took part in the comic dialogue. “She is the best master of ceremonies in Xian’an and her appearance fee is over a thousand yuan, but she attaches great importance to this charity performance for which she can only get an allowance of 20 yuan.” Deng Shuang, a dancer, said. They perform in the countryside for this cultural career that they cherish.
Liu Xin is an excellent dancer in the troupe and her child is already 6 years old. When she performs on weekdays, Liu Xin always asks her friends to help take care of her child. As for weekdays, she just takes her child together with her. But when getting to the performance venue, she still has no time to take care of the child.
Liu Hanhua, a singer, is in poor health. When the performance bus is about to leave, she often hurries to get on the bus while getting an injection. She caught a cold and that day she rushed there after taking the medicine. Duan Hongguo, 55 years old, coming down from the stage in his drama suit, joked with his teammates that he would sweat after singing one song before, but after singing two songs that day, he still shivered with cold.
Speaking of the dedicated teammates, Luo Limin felt proud of them.
The performance: All are for the people.
“We not only perform for them, but also arrange programs according to local characteristics.” said Luo Limin.
They specially prepared some programs with local characteristics when coming to perform in Xingxing Village. The story originated from the dance Deep Bamboo Grove in Star Bamboo Forest Park, Sweet osmanthus in south of Yangtze River in Xian’an dialect, and other stories about respecting the elderly are all popular among the audience.
“When we are needed, we will be content no matter how hard or how tired. Speaking of people’s admiration of the troupe, dancer Deng Shuang has the same feeling as the others, “There are a lot of caretaker people among the audience. When we perform for them, we are moved by their simplicity and enthusiasm which are also the biggest support and encouragement for our work.”
In May, 2008, there was a charity performance in Mingshuiquan Scenic Spot in Guihua Town. As the traffic was inconvenient, they had to stop the bus on the road and shouldered the equipments to the performance venue. Local villagers set off fireworks and butchered pigs to welcome them and celebrate their coming.
However, when it was time to perform, it rained heavily, but the villagers were still waiting in the rain. “We see a desire for spiritual culture in their eyes, so we just can’t refuse.” said Luo Limin. The actors performed as planned. The villagers were so touched that they went to the stage and held umbrellas for them. They said, “We are moved by their behavior!”
Actor Duan Hongguo recalled, “Last year in June, we went to perform in Tingsi Welfare Institution. Knowing that there was an old soldier who got a class-one merit in Korean War living there, we sang the song Heroic Hymn for him in particular and invited him to sing together on the stage.” Hearing the lyrics “Praising the heroes in the war…” the old soldier’s eyes were brimming with tears, he said, “I returned to the hometown voluntarily after the war and didn’t ask anything from the Party. Today, the performance was the recognition and affirmation of the Party for me. They didn’t forget me.” Everybody present was moved by his words.