At the foot of the Yellow Crane Tower, along the river into the bustling old streets of Wuchang, where there is an ancient theater hidden. Every weekend, the gongs and drums are clanging, the play is even on the stage, and the audience is not only stumbling old fans, but also college students from surrounding schools, and tourists who come to the nearby Tanhualin scenic spots.
"The Yongfang Ancient Theater used to be an old 'theater den' in Wuchang, but it has been dormant for years due to disrepair, and sometimes there are more actors on stage than there are audiences off stage." What impressed Guo Guowei, head of the Chu Troupe of Hubei Provincial Opera Art Theater, was that after the Spring Festival this year, the renovated ancient theater was opened to the public again, and this time, it seemed to "come alive". Watching the seats of 200 people were slowly filled, and even the scene was full, Guo Guowei felt that the theater was "reborn", and the spring of the opera was coming again!
At the scene, the reporter saw the figure of the familiar young actors, and also got a glimpse of the ancient theater "popular" password. Compared with the tension before a performance at a local opera and art festival, the actors here are significantly relaxed, and the backstage laughter is constantly.
"I have performed a lot of times, at the beginning there will be pressure, gradually more comfortable, confident, especially after every performance to hear the audience's warm applause, is my happiest time." Said Li Yang, a Huangmei Opera actor born in 2003.
Yongfang Ancient Theater has become a position for young actors to accumulate stage experience. "Young actors need a platform to show their performances, and traditional opera also needs the relay and vitality of the new generation." Mei Pengcheng, general manager of Hubei Opera Art Theater, said that regular performances by the orientation class students who just graduated from Hubei Vocational College of Art not only gave young people the opportunity to exercise, but also attracted many young fans and literary and artistic youth, and the old theater became a new "Internet red" place, and it was an instant red on social media.
National Vocational College Skills Competition Opera Performance Award, Chinese Children's Opera Little Plum Blossom Festival, the ninth China Peking Opera Art Festival… From the small theater to the big stage, this batch of skilled and excellent character of the new drama has been in a number of provincial and national important performances and awards. In April this year, Beijing Meilanfang Grand Theater, nearly a thousand audience watched the fourth "Lihua Cup" national youth drama education and teaching achievements exhibition activity, the Han opera "Sizhou City" and the Chu opera "Three Dozen Golden Branches" instrumental performance performed by young actors trained by Hubei Vocational College of Art won the "Excellent exhibition work" and "Music Exhibition" awards, which were highly praised by the industry.
In addition to the rapid growth of a number of "post-00" rookies, "post-90" and "post-80" new stars have also shone on the stage. Not long ago, the 14th Hubei Drama Peony Awards were presented in Wuhan. More than 10 young opera performers from Hubei, including Sun Shuaikang and Yi Weizi, took the stage to accept the awards. Their operas covered Peking Opera, Han Opera, Chu Opera, Hubei Yue Tune and Flower Drum Opera. A blossoming "peony flowers" blooming stage, for the budding "plum blossom" ready to go.
That night, the Huimin performance attracted fans from the three towns of Wuhan to compete to go to the Jingyun stage was full. Sun Shuaikang, 25, won acclaim for his performance in the Hubei Yue tune "Small Dinner".
"We learned from the performance characteristics of Jin opera, with feathers to show Lu Bu's mood." Sun Shuaikang explained, "When I went to Changzhi, Shanxi Province to learn from the teacher, it was snowing that day, the teacher said, you are the fourth to come to me to learn, the people in front of you finally gave up, you are sure you can endure hardship?"
This bitter Sun Shuaikang ate. The head is extremely tight, with the neck force, control the two feathers on the head dancing, two hundred circles in the morning and two hundred circles in the afternoon every day, he practiced for a whole year, "after practicing, after vomiting, continue."
"Hubei Yue Tune is a non-heritage drama, condensing the efforts of the elders, although the middle was once asleep and on the verge of extinction, but now that we have entered this group, we must shoulder the responsibility of inheritance." At the same time, we will learn from big operas and add innovative elements such as coloratura, so that the road of Hubei Yue Tune will become wider and wider." Sun Shuaikang said.
Wang Xinmin, the old head of the troupe, is pleased that compared with the old facilities and morale of the troupe ten years ago, there are now a large number of talents. In 2014, a new play "Looking at Sun Sun" saved the old Hekou Yu Opera Company at that time. Later, the company changed its focus from Henan opera to revitalizing Hubei Yuetao, and changed its name to Laohekou Hubei Yuetao Xianren Flower Drum Opera Art Protection and Inheritance Center. Since 2016, the company has recruited nearly 30 new young people, and the average age of actors is now 23, with the youngest being 16.
When the reporter came to the waiting area of the Peony Award performance, not only the actors, but also the musicians, makeup artists and logistics teams of the troupe were all young faces, and the breath of youth came to their faces. They are active in front of the stage and behind the scenes, and are determined to become the leading actors and top talents of various kinds of dramas and drama groups in Hubei Province.
In 1989, He Jingzhi, a famous poet and playwright, made a special trip from Beijing to Wuhan and gladly wrote an inscription for the newly established "Hubei Drama Peony Award" - "The leader has an early spring, competing for peony flowers". Time flies, Hubei Drama Peony Flower Award has gone through 34 years. Among the 32 winners of the "Plum Blossom Award" in Hubei Province, 28 of them went from the "Peony Flower Award" to the podium of the "Plum Blossom Award" and "Erdu Plum" of the Chinese Dramatists Association, becoming the leader of today's drama stage.
Yang Jun, chairman of Hubei Provincial Federation of Literature and Arts and a famous Huangmei Opera artist, encouraged the young actors at the award ceremony: "This honor confirms your hard work and persistent efforts to pursue your dream stage, and represents your love and sincere feelings for the art profession and drama career."