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Set in an old teahouse in Beijing, the play is typical of Lao She's art that seeks to provide a panoramic view of Chinese history and culture in their transformation from tradition to modernity. Teahouse spans fifty years in modern Chinese history from the collapse of the Qing dynasty and the Republican Revolution to the birth of the People's Republic. The play brings together over sixty characters, representing all walks of life in change. It is noted for its vivid portrayal of characters and lively use of Beijing dialect, but its main thrust lies in Lao She's vision of history, which is prophetic of later political movements and its disastrous effects on the average Chinese people. Teahouse is a rare masterpiece of the contemporary Chinese theatre. It has been performed in Japan, Europe and North America, and translated into major foreign languages.
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