Historical drama about early Communist Party congress gains popularity
After its debut in April last year, Jing'an District's first original "red" drama "Once Upon A Time in Fudeli" has gained influence and popularity in the nation with the release of a film and a book.
Fudeli, a typical Shanghai shikumen (stone-gate) neighborhood, was where the Second National Congress of the Communist Party of China was held about a century ago.
In July 1922, 12 Party delegates gathered in secret at Li Da's house in Fudeli, one of the few remaining clandestine Party sites in the city following a series of police raids. They included major Party co-founders Chen Duxiu, Zhou Enlai's classmate Li Zhenying and early Party leader Cai Hesen, who was betrayed and executed for revolutionary activities at the age of 36.
In a footnote to history, Mao Zedong was supposed to attend the meeting but he didn't make it. In a conversation with American journalist Edgar Snow in 1936, he recalled that he just forgot the exact address and couldn't find any comrades to enlighten him.
Over eight days, the 12 delegates shaped the first Party Constitution, which consisted of six chapters and 4,000 words.
Fudeli also witnessed the establishment of the People's Publishing House, which has survived to this day as one of the most reputable publishers in China.
The play was set against the backdrop of Fudeli, telling stories of the Party's early days and China's winding journey toward national rejuvenation. Legendary figures mentioned above are brought back to life on stage.
It made its debut at the Daning Theater in Jing'an and opened the Modern Drama Valley in April last year. After the premiere, it has gained wide popularity.
To cater to the market, the play was filmed and screened this month at Hubei Cinema in Shanghai. It will be on a national tour in famous "red" cities like Yan'an of Shaanxi Province, Changsha of Hunan Province and Nanjing of Jiangsu Province until the end of the year.
Besides, during the Shanghai Book Fair held this month in Jing'an, a book about the play was published. It features interviews with people who experienced turbulent times, and explains major historical events and how the play was written.
Chen Hong, head of the Jing'an Culture and Tourism Bureau, said an exhibition showing important historical moments around the Party's Second National Congress will be held soon.
The exhibition will feature miniature models of Shanghai's shikumen buildings and replicas of scenes such as the Party's first and second National Congress.
"Fudeli has become a 'red' name card of Jing'an, and we will strengthen cultural exchanges with other cities so as to make Fudeli better known among the general public," Chen said.