The 1947 Suicide of Xiao Dangui Part 3 : The Challenge of the New Media and Film

Note on the header photos (left to right):

(1) ca 1925 publicity poster for Dazhonghua Theatre (later stage for
new Yueju): a Soochow “modern” lady (unidentified) wearing qipao (shizhuang, or “period costume”. )
(3) The Guotai (“Cathay” Theatre where Dangui’s company last performed
(2) Xiao Dangui (seated, as huadan) and Xu Yulan, standing, xiaosheng), probably May 1947, in period costume (shizhuang): 是我错 “It’s my fault”
probably at the Zhedong Theater, one of his 11 major holdings.

Note on Zhang Chunfan, owner of the Cathay: “国泰”、“浙东”、“明星”、“天宫”、“皇后”、“虬江”、“丽都”、“同孚”、“老风”、“恩派亚”等戏院. OF which Zhedong and Guotai were the most profitable, “goldmine” venues. .

Though the tabloids (Huangse baokan) insisted on pursuing the Xiao suicide case as if there were behind it all a monstrous theatre-owning millionare persecuting a wayward actress with too much dramatic innovation on her mind – another Yuan Xuefen 袁雪芬, though less irritating because she lacked Yuan’s intellectual skills – the contest for “ownership” needs to be recontexted into the rather bohemian arts world (wenyijie) that dominated all theater and film in “island” and then post war Shanghai.

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