Chapter Ten Ibsenism and Ideology in Chinese Playwriting
Drama as a performing art is one of the most powerful means to arouse the audience’s emotional response. It is the tradition of Chinese theatre to use drama to satirize current political and social events. Apart from China, there are numerous other examples to demonstrate that drama has been useful as propaganda both to a ruling party and to its opposition. In Japan, the shogunate of the Tokugawa period worried that kabuki might lead to unrest by running counter to the social and moral order espoused by the government. In Berlin, Bertolt Brecht’s The Mother was banned from the stage for fear of the emotions it could evoke among the audience. Instead of banning drama, Chinese Marxists used it as a weapon against opposing ideologies for many decades, considering it a powerful tool to disseminate their ideals and to educate the people.