1906 The Spring Willow Drama Club formed by
Chinese students studying in Japan is considered the foundation
of Chinese modern drama.
1907 The club puts on a trial performance
of the third act of the classic The Lady of the Camellias -
the first drama performed by the Chinese in the Chinese language.
The club premieres a five-act play based on the novel Uncle
Tom's Cabin , and establishes an unprecedented form of drama
in China: the first drama script and the first complete drama
1918 Xin Cun Zheng is regarded as
the first modern drama in China in terms of realism.
1928 Modern Chinese drama derived from Western
theatre is named Hua Ju (spoken drama), designed to
be distinguished from traditional Chinese operas.
1934 Chinese drama gains new levels of popularity
in July with the publication of Thunderstorm in Literature
Quarterly Volume 1 No.3. The author, Cao Yu, later to become
China's most renowned drama artist, is just 22 and the play is
his debut drama work. It's estimated that Thunderstorm is
the most performed play in China. It is a full-length modern
drama that features complex relationships among the members and
servants of a large well-off family, and focuses on family disintegration
as a result of corruption in old China. The son, Zhou Puyuan,
has an affair with the family maid, Shi Ping, and she bears him
two children. After he marries a wealthy woman he keeps the son,
Zhou Ping, and drives Shi Ping away with the daughter, Si Feng.
Shi Ping marries a butler, Lu Gui, and they struggle to raise
Si Feng. Unconscious of their consanguinity, Zhou Ping and Si
Feng fall in love with each other. A tangled family history is
played out only to culminate in a tragic end.