Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, February 6th: View art as knowledge, view art as life——Remembrance of performing artist Zheng Rong
Xinhua News Agency reporter Bai Ying
He is Chang Siye in the drama “Tea House”, Zhou Puyuan in “Thunderstorm”, he is the Taishang Laojun in the TV series “Journey to the West”, Kong Rong in “The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”…
“The attitude of treating art as learning has been throughout his life” “He regards drama career as life” “He is a model of scholar-type actor”… At the memorial meeting held by Beijing People’s Art on February 6, many colleagues and Relatives and friends recalled his never-ending life.
Zheng Rong, a famous performing artist and consultant of Beijing People’s Art Committee, died in Beijing on December 24, 2022 at the age of 98.
Create real people on stage
In his stage career of more than 70 years, Zheng Rong has created many characters with distinct personalities and different styles, among which the most well-known ones are Zhou Puyuan in “Thunderstorm” and Chang Siye in “Tea House”. With the changes of the times and the growth of age, Zheng Rong constantly has new understanding and creation, so as to improve the characters he plays.
According to Feng Yuanzheng, director of the Beijing People’s Arts, during the process of playing Zhou Puyuan from 1953 to 1998, Zheng Rong started from class analysis to human nature, and finally handed over his part to Cao Yu with a complete thought line. Think of it as an “unfinished answer sheet”; from 1958 to 1992, in the process of playing Chang Siye, Zheng Rong kept studying and revising, from simply acting as a tough guy to finding a vivid feeling of the character.
As the veteran of the Beijing People’s Art Institute, Zheng Rong is also the first version of these two characters. The pearls and jades are in the front, so that the latecomers will look up to the mountains.
“Mr. Zheng Rong’s Fourth Master Chang is the driving force for me to play Fourth Master Chang. The image seed in my heart is him.” Pu Cunxin, the former vice president of Beijing People’s Arts, said, how to treat Zheng Rong’s performance is what he will revolve around in “Tea House” later. Subjects that cannot be opened.
Gu Wei, Zhou Puyuan’s second-generation actor, has similar feelings. “Zhou Puyuan is Zheng Rong in my heart. I didn’t dare to take this role at the beginning, because I couldn’t act as a ‘flower’.” He said that Zheng Rong himself and the aura that gave Zhou Puyuan a character of “no anger and self-prestige” deeply influenced him. over him.
In the autumn of 2013, Beijing People’s Art rehearsed and performed “Xiaojing Hutong”. Zheng Rong wrote a letter to director Yang Lixin after watching it, emphatically affirming the shaping of people. “He has always been a staunch defender of theater style, calling for real people to be created on the stage.” Yang Lixin said.
based on a solid life
In 2005, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War, Beijing Renyi re-ranked the drama “The Butcher” and used old actors such as Zhu Xu and Zheng Rong from the premiere version in 1982.
Ma Xin, then Secretary of the Party Committee of the theater, recalled that Zheng Rong carefully took out a treasure at the group building meeting: a diary of a martyr. Chongqing had just been liberated at the end of 1949. Zheng Rong, who was engaged in progressive drama, entered Zhazidong alone, and was deeply moved when he witnessed the tragic scene. He brought this diary of a martyr back from the scene.
“In order to allow young actors to experience the atmosphere of the war years as soon as possible, Teacher Zheng Rong brought this martyr’s relic that has been treasured for 56 years, and many comrades were shocked.” Ma Xin said, “He always insists that artistic creation must be based on a solid foundation. Life is the basis, and only artistic images that originate from life and take root in life can have long-lasting penetrating power.”
In 2012, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Beijing People’s Art Institute, the original drama “Jiaziyuan”, the inheritance relationship embodied by the five generations of actors in the same room became a good story for a while.
Tang Ye, one of the directors, recalled that Zheng Rong, who was 88 years old at the time, played the role of the old Red Army in the play. Although he could only perform in a wheelchair, he still asked to go to a nursing home to experience life; the first time he went there, he was a bit of a flyer, so he visited alone The old Red Army Wang Dinglie listened to him talk about his experience, felt his emotions, and even borrowed some of Wang Dinglie’s actions in the play.
“He said that by visiting the old Red Army, the characters gradually took root in his heart. Acting has to find the feeling in the heart, and the drama must reflect real life and cannot be isolated from reality.” Tang Ye said.
In 2017, Tang Ye served as the director of the rerun of “Guan Hanqing”. Zheng Rong said after watching the rehearsal, “The stage of the drama should still focus on people, revealing the thoughts and feelings of the characters, and creating vivid characters.”
Practice the spirit of “drama is bigger than the sky” for a lifetime
In December 2022, the day before Zheng Rong died, he was still muttering to himself on the sickbed: “Put me clothes and shoes quickly, I have to go to a show, I still have a play.”
At the memorial service, Zheng Rong’s wife, Chen Xiuying, recounted this scene with tears in her eyes. Zheng Rong was about to fall asleep after being coaxed by his family, and said, “No… I have to go back to the theater, and I have to rehearse. How can I perform without rehearsal?”
“Ms. Zheng Rong is a model of the spirit of Beijing People’s Arts, and represents the noble quality of the older generation of artists in the theater who regard art as their life.” Wang Wenguang, Secretary of the Beijing People’s Arts Party Group, said, “He has an open and broad mind, firm and righteous courage, and a straightforward and generous spirit. His personality, rigorous and tolerant morality are all his life annotations.”
Pu Cunxin said that Zheng Rong is very modest in daily life, but when it comes to art, he becomes devoted and harsh: he humbly accepts criticism from his colleagues and criticizes them harshly, and he also bluntly said that theaters should not tolerate the conceptualization of performances for the sake of rushing plays and emotional.
“He is full of righteousness, and he has practiced the human art spirit of ‘drama is bigger than the sky’ throughout his life.” Pu Cunxin said.
While engaged in drama creation, Zheng Rong never gave up thinking and research on the art of dialogue drama. At the beginning of the reform and opening up, he consciously summed up the different characteristics of drama and film and television drama performances by participating in film and television dramas; at the beginning of the new century, he published an article and put forward three propositions related to drama creation, which aroused strong repercussions in the literary and art circles ; In 2019, he published the book “On the Creation of Zheng Rong’s Dramatic Performance”, which summarized the achievements and experience of practicing the “Stanislavsky System”.
“Mr. Zheng Rong’s dedication to art, never-ending footsteps and noble character have led a generation of young artists to inherit and carry forward. He has set an example for us by himself, let us work hard, make continuous progress, and achieve the future. “Feng Yuanzheng said.
Responsible Editor: Yu Ying