I was the Chairman's dog.
Whatever he told me to bite, I bit.
- Jiang Qing
Madam Mao is a one act play, that was remounted at the intimate Extraspace of The Tarragon Theatre in downtown Toronto. It previewed June 2 & 3, opened June 4 and ran until June 19.
In a Bejing jail cell, a young official is drawn into the telling of Jiang Qing's story. Known in the West as Madam Mao, the widow of Chairman Mao was once the most powerful and feared woman in the world. Now a political prisoner, she relives her life, replete with idealism and contradictions.
Born into poverty, Jiang Qing rose to power and then used propaganda art as the means of controlling a nation. With her sights set on becoming the next ruler of China, her quest for power led her to destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of her real and perceived enemies. Was she driven by revenge and ambition? Has she been vilified by historic perspectives?
Incorporating Revolutionary choreography, and underscored by a live musician, Madam Mao
exposes the life of a woman who the Chinese are eager to forget and who North Americans never really knew.
In today’s world, every piece of culture and literature (art) belongs to some kind of cast [bourgeois/proletariat/etc], belongs to some kind of political ideology. Art for the sake of art, art without cast, or art independent from politics, doesn’t exist in reality. Proletariat literature is part of the proletariat revolution, as Lenin said before, a piece of screw and gear of the whole revolution “machine”.
ABOUT THE PLAY
The play Madam Mao is a tribute to the hundreds of thousands of people Jiang Qing persecuted while in power during the Cultural Revolution.