The famous director and performing artist, when Wu Xue was sent to the Xianning Cadre School, most notably, was invited to guide the rehearsal of Stone Ridge.
In the early summer of 1971, the Mao Zedong Thoughts Performing Arts Propaganda Team rehearsed Yangxin modern tea-picking opera Stone Ridge. In order to ensure the quality and level, the Political Work Group of the Revolutionary Committee made an exception to Wu Xue who was working in Xiangyang Lake Cadre School....
The famous and experienced director directed Hubei local plays. From the view of present, it seemed incredible. Because as early as the Yan'an period, Wu Xue had directed plays such as The Danger in Boundary, Hypocrite, Under the Eaves of Shanghai, Thunderstorm and so on. He had also attended the Yan'an Forum on Art and Literature which had historic significances. He acted the leading role of the screen table play Press-gang able-bodied men with strong satirical comedy. He was sent to put on the play for several times. Every time Chairman Mao watched the play, he threw his head back in a hearty laugh.
After the foundation of the PRC, Wu served as the president of the China Youth Arts Theatre and the deputy director of Cinema Department under the Ministry of Culture. He had built more than ten character images in plays such as Pavel korchagin and Uncle Vanya. He also directed famous plays like Leopard Bay Fight and the House of Puppets. Due to historical misunderstanding, he was delegated in Xianning during the Cultural Revolution and passively accepted the "glorious political task". Then he moved from Xiangyang Lake to Wenquan.
When optimistic and outgoing Wu met the group of young people in the Directing Group, he actively made a self-introduction "I am criticized by 'comrade' Jiang Qing. If you want to draw a clear line, don't call me 'Wu Lao' (Respectable Wu), just call me 'Lao Wu' or 'Lao Xue'." Nevertheless, out of respect for the old star, they combined the two names together, affectionately called him "Wu Laoxue".
On one occasion, the composer You Boqiao in the play group mentioned the role that Wu acted as a rich man whose name was Li Laoshuan, he couldn't help chuckling. After seeing that, Wu Xue reminded with Si chuan dialects "little guy, what you are laughing at? What is so funny? That's poisonous weeds."
On the surface, Wu Xue lived a peaceful life from the past glory life. But he never gave up his pursuit of arts in his heart. After he served as the role of the director, he seemed to have forgotten his transformation in the Cadre School. When rehearsing, he was very strict with every performer. But when they didn't put on plays, he was very kind to everyone. He taught the young performers in person "Do not put too much emphasis on forms; the key to performing well is to express the characters' inner heart. It is not only necessary to go deep into life, but also needs to refine life. In daily life, you should strengthen the literary accomplishments and improve yourselves constantly." He also was concerned about whether the actor Liu Gaojin had attended the professional school and gave the famous book An Actor Prepares (published by Chinese Drama Publishing House in 1960) written by Konstantin Stanislavski to him . He also encouraged young people to seriously develop specialized skill and strive for art attainments. It was especially valuable that he was upright and selfless and fearless. He sometimes dissatisfied with "the three highlights". He always emphasized that stagecraft should be performed by emotion and boldly deleted the"supreme instruction" which was cited too much by the "No.1 hero" in the play.
During the spare time, he loved smoking "safflower" cigarettes, with a a pack of nine cents, sometimes he brought wine and frankly chatted with his friends in private despite great difference in the age. He confided in his friend and told them that because he had different views on the adaptation of the revolutionary model play The Legend of the Red Lantern , he offended the literary revolution "standard bearer". But he never regretted and believed that his views would be adopted in one day. He sincerely said," As long as Premier Zhou was there, we would not be afraid of Jiang Qing."
After several months of intense rehearsal, the Stone Ridge was finished. During the National Day, it was performed for two consecutive nights in Wenquan. Soon they were on tour in Xiangyang Lake and Yangxin County. In early March of the following year, he also took part in the joint performance which was created by the provincial professional theatrical troupes. Although this play was still difficult to get rid of the creation mode of"three highlights", the"episode" behind the screen before it was formally put on broadened the literary and artistic workers' eyes and also made them known of Wu Xue's personality and achievements. At the same time, they built the precious and true friendship with him.
One of the playwrights of the Stone Ridg Xie Banghuae once asked teasingly,"If you return to Beijing one day, will you still remember us?" No doubt the answer is YES.
More than ten years later, Hu Shaoyuan ,a member in the play group, paid a visit to him in Beijing. At that time, Wu was one member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a deputy minister of Ministry of Culture. He was very excited to tell the past story to his wife Li Wanfen who was an associate professor in China Conservatory of Music. On a heavy snow day of winter, his daughter went from Beijing to Xianning Cadre School to see him. But the train delayed, his daughter and he both were stranded at the gate of the Xianning County Post Office. They had no way out but to sigh at the sky. After Hu Shaoyuan received the call, he immediately contacted with the car fleet of the Prefecture Party Committee, and then they sent a car to pick up Wu Xue and his daughter who were shivering with cold and asked after their needs after they arrived in the theater group.
This "warmth in a snowy winter" scene was unforgettable to him. He said over and over again to his guests "we are friends in need! A friend in need!" Later there were some other Xianning people from the culture system visiting him. Wu regarded all of them as VIP guests. He provided them with accommodations, or he invited them to watch performances with highbrow art and literature (such as the Ballet Swan Lake).
After resigning from a leading post, Wu Xue became the President of the China Drama Art Research Association and the honorary Chairman of the China Organizing Committee of the Sunset Project. This spring, he sent his Xianning friend an ink painting with great enthusiasm "Recall the Xiangyang Lake, remember the Xianning District". (Written by Li Chengwai)