Teahouse (play)


Written byLao She
Date premiered1957
Place premieredBeijing
Original languageChinese

Teahouse (Chinese: 茶馆; pinyin: Cháguǎn) is a 1957 play by Lao She. The play was first published in Shouhuo (Chinese: 收获; lit. 'Harvest') in July 1957.[1]


The Hindu published February 20, 2009 noted a local production of the play and described its plot: "Through a graphic depiction of what happened to a teahouse in Beijing and the fate of Wang Lifa, boss of teahouse and a group of people connected therewith, “Teahouse” mirrors the then social turmoil and the seamy side of society."

The plot description in the original Chinese version of this article, when translated, gives this version: "In the drama, Beijing Yutai Teahouse is the background, depicting the various characters of society. Through the changes in the life of the various characters in the teahouse during the last five years of the Qing Dynasty, the period of the warlord's separatist period and the victory of the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression, reflecting the changes of society, returning to the social life before the founding of the People's Republic of China, reflecting the old from the side the social outlook of the times."

Criticism and influence

While Teahouse had been radical and popular in 1957, after Lao She's death by suicide in 1966 the play became one of the emblematic targets of attack for the Cultural Revolution.[2] Beijing People's Art Theatre (BPAT) did not restage Teahouse until 1979, and the play was not widely performed for the public till 1985.[3][4] It is now, however, widely considered to be a classic of 20th century Chinese drama.[5][6]

Performance history

Taken from a translation of the original Chinese version of this article: "The "Tea House" was premiered by the Beijing People's Art Theatre in Beijing 's Capital Theater on March 29, 1958. The directors were Jiao Juyin and Xia Chun . This drama has been going on for decades. Become a classic repertoire of the Beijing People's Art Theatre . On July 16, 1992, at the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Beijing People's Art Theatre , the old version of "Tea House" performed 374th in the Capital Theater and became a farewell performance.

On October 12, 1999, the "Tea House" re-arranged by the Beijing People's Art Theatre with a new lineup was performed at the Capital Theater . The director was Lin Zhaohua . As of May 27, 2004, the show has performed 500 times. In 2005, Jiao Juyin’s version was resumed. On March 10, 2010, the show was performed for the 600th time.

On July 21, 2017, Wang Chong directed "Tea House 2.0," the first major reinterpretation after Lin's. The 44 actors performed to only 11 audience each time, with the original lines by Lao She. There was no tea and no "old society" in the performance. Instead, in the sense of post-dramatic theater, the audience saw the classroom life of a high school in Beijing for three years." It was performed in an actual high school classroom in Beijing.


  1. ^ Biographical Dictionary of the People's Republic of China -Yuwu Song 0786435828- 2013 Page 165 "When Lao She returned to China in 1931, he found that he had achieved some fame as a comic novelist, and so he continued to create his ... Among Lao She's most frequently performed plays is Teahouse, which was written in 1957.
  2. ^ Ruocheng Ying, Claire Conceison - Voices Carry: Behind Bars and Backstage During China's ... 0742555542-2009 Page 152 "After Lao She's death in 1966, Teahouse became a prime target of calumny, and the amount of slanderous attacks on both the play and its production could fill a fair-sized volume. In that respect, Teahouse is but one of the numerous examples "
  3. ^ Ruocheng Ying, Claire Conceison -Voices Carry: Behind Bars and Backstage During China's ... 0742555542 2009 - Page 152 "As a literary critic phrased it during one of the symposia on Teahouse: “We have not done sufficient justice to Lao She's writing in the past. It took the upheaval of the last ten to twelve years to make us realize that. There is much we can learn ...
  4. ^ Xiaomei Chen Acting the Right Part: Political Theater and Popular Drama ... 0824824830 2002 - Page 376 "Lao She's Teahouse first appeared in Shouhuo (Harvest) (July 1957(, and was later published as a single play ... of its questionable "political healthiness" and was not allowed to be performed for the general public until January 1985.
  5. ^ Wetmore, Kevin J. (2011). "Review of The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Drama". The Journal of Asian Studies. 70 (4): 1114–1116. ISSN 0021-9118. "The plays themselves are the ultimate strength of the volume. Present are such crucial texts as Hu Shih's The Main Event in Life (1919); Cao Yu's Thunderstorm (1934) [...]; Lao She's Teahouse [...]"
  6. ^ Fei, Faye Chunfang (2012). "Review of The Soul of Beijing Opera: Theatrical Creativity and Continuity in the Changing World; The Columbia Anthology of Modern Chinese Drama". TDR. 56 (3): 187–190. ISSN 1054-2043. "The four Mao-era plays are Lao She's Teahouse (1958), an indisputable masterpiece of Beijing-flavored social drama [...]"