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Shangganling: A Gripping and Patriotic Drama that Inspires Heroism and Unity

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Drama “Shangganling” Delights Audience at National Center for the Performing Arts

Author: Cao Zhoutian (Senior Editor of People’s Education Press)

The highly anticipated drama “Shangganling” was recently performed at the National Center for the Performing Arts, leaving the audience in awe. Based on the Battle of Shangganling, the play tells the gripping story of a small group of volunteer soldiers who bravely fought in a tunnel with no food, water, ammunition, or communication. The play’s thrilling storyline, innovative stage design, realistic war scenes, and exceptional performances by the actors vividly portray the revolutionary spirit of patriotism and the heroic deeds of the volunteer martyrs.

“Shangganling” is a classic patriotic education-themed drama that exudes positive energy. The characters in the play, including seasoned veterans, young recruits, and brave female health workers, all embody the spirit of perseverance, dedication, sacrifice, and solidarity. Despite their different personalities, they unite to showcase the Shangganling spirit.

Unlike grand scenes depicted in movies, the storyline of “Shangganling” primarily takes place in the confined space of a tunnel, allowing the audience to fully immerse themselves in the war scenes. The small tunnel acts as a mirror, enabling the audience to experience the intensity of the battle on a personal level.

The stage design of the play plays a crucial role in enhancing the atmosphere. The director ingeniously incorporated explosion scenes using a professional special effects team. Through sound, light, and electricity, the stage was filled with the ambiance of bullets and smoke. The gradual appearance of gun holes, synchronized with the characters’ movements, added creativity and realism to the fierce battle scenes.

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Artistic expression in “Shangganling” is both macro and micro. The play presents numerous vivid descriptions of the war’s macroscopic scale, along with scenes of explosions and intense action sequences. Each character is depicted with precision, showcasing the alertness and bravery of the soldiers, the loyalty and humor of squad leader Ma Jingtian, and the resourcefulness of female health worker Lin Lan. The attention to detail allows the audience to feel immersed in the emotions and reality of the play.

While war-themed dramas often carry a serious and tragic tone, “Shangganling” balances this with a positive and optimistic attitude towards life. The contrast in emotions between the fierce war scenes and the camaraderie among the soldiers in the tunnel injects warmth and portrays the fearlessness and revolutionary sentiments displayed by the volunteers when facing foreign enemies. The lighthearted banter and joyful moments among the soldiers add depth and humanity to the play’s narrative.

The play successfully combines realism and lyricism, showcasing excitement and warmth through dramatic language. The lines spoken by the characters, such as the humor of Ma Jingtian and the bravery of Lin Lan, contribute to their individuality. Inner monologues reveal thoughtfulness, care, and self-reflection, creating heartfelt scenes that resonate with the audience. Additionally, artistic elements such as Shandong Kuaishu and melodious harmonica accompaniment enhance the overall expression of the drama.

The play’s climax is the finale, where a flashback scene depicts the young volunteer soldiers crossing the Yalu River Bridge a year ago. This temporal and spatial contrast ignites admiration for the heroes. The mesmerizing a cappella rendition of the song “My Motherland” echoed through the stage, leaving the audience captivated. The final chorus elevated the play to its peak, highlighting the theme and expressing the genuine tribute of the entire creative team to the heroes of the volunteer army.

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“Shangganling” has captivated audiences with its powerful storytelling, exceptional performances, and innovative stage design. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by those who fought for their country, and instills a strong sense of patriotism. The play’s successful run at the National Center for the Performing Arts is a testament to its educational significance and the enduring appeal of patriotic themes in the arts.


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