Film Truer than Fact: “Stage Sisters” and Xiao Dangui’s Suicide

Yin Guiifang

THE SHAOXING OPERA JOINT BENEFIT PERFORMANCE OF AUGUST 1947
山河恋 – Theatre Advertisement in Film

SS fil joit perf sign

and photograph of actual cast, Xiao Dangui playing 宓姬 (4th from right)

3068077246147474066《山河恋》剧照 1947

To quote Mark Twain, “It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.” True, but what happens when the “truth” is that of the world of the stage, where nothing is ever quite true or false, only shadow, and (to make matter even more difficult) associates with a still unexplained suicide of a famous real-life actress/opera-diva, Xiao Dangui (1920-1947), a “whydunnit” that cannot be resolved because the perpetrator cannot testify?

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