Born Oct. 23, 1894, in Peking; died there Aug. 8, 1961. Chinese actor, teacher, and theatrical and public figure.
Mei Lan-fang was the son of an actor. He studied at the Fuliench’eng Studio of the Peking Theatrical School, specializing in female roles. During the second decade of the 20th century, Mei Lan-fang created new types of plays in modern dress, such as The Lovers Meet in Prison and The Linen Bandage, and costume dramas dealing with traditional themes, such as Ch’ang O Flees to the Moon.
After the formation of the People’s Republic of China, Mei Lan-fang took an active part in theatrical and public life. In 1949 he began working at the Theater of Peking Musical Drama. He also served as a deputy to the All-China Assembly of People’s Representatives. In 1951 he became director of the research-oriented Institute for the Theater of Traditional Musical Drama (the institute was later renamed the Academy of the Theater of Traditional Musical Drama).
Mei Lan-fang’s best roles were in The Intoxication of Yang Kuei-fei, Pa-wang Parts With Yüchi, A Stroll Through the Garden and the Interrupted Dream, The Sword of the Universe, The Hungnikuan Frontier Post, and Mu Kuei-ying Leads the Troops. He visited the USSR in 1935, 1952, and 1957. He met with K. S. Stanislavsky—whose follower Mei Lan-fang was—V. I. Nemirovich-Danchenko, V. E. Meyerhold, and S. M. Eisenstein, all of whom highly valued the art of Mei Lan-fang.
WORKSSorok let na stsene. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from Chinese.)
REFERENCESMei Lan’-fan i kitaiskii teatr. Moscow-Leningrad, 1935. (Collection.)
Obraztsov, S. Teatr kitaiskogo naroda. Moscow, 1957.
Serova, S. A. Pekinskaia muzykal’naia drama. Moscow, 1970.
Mei Lan-fang wen-chi (Mei Lan-fang: Collection of Articles). Peking, 1962.
S. A. SEROVA